• 66°

Hardy’s big plays lead Lawrence Co.

MONTICELLO – There is no stopping Lawrence County senior runningback Wayne Hardy Friday night. Hardy scored four touchdowns andcarried the football just six times for 178 yards in LawrenceCounty’s lopsided 62-28 Region 6-4A win over the TerryBulldawgs.

Hardy scored touchdowns on runs of 7, 30, 76 and 31 yards. Inthe last three games, he has rushed for 450 yards.

For his accomplishments, Hardy has been named The Daily Leader’sOffensive Player of the Week for the eighth week of the 2001football season.

Just recently, Hardy verbally committed to sign with theSouthern Miss Golden Eagles of Conference USA. He is projected as atailback.

“When they (USM coaches) saw him running the football, they wereimpressed,” said Lawrence County head coach Trent Hammond of Hardy.”He’s a big kid, 6-foot-1 and 217 pounds. He’s a skinny kid who canfly. The first guy (tackler) has yet to get him down this year. Itusually takes two or three to bring him down. They will put someweight on him when he gets to USM.”

Hardy say liked Southern Miss and the opportunity to play aposition he would like, tailback. “They will give me a pretty goodchance to play tailback,” said Hardy. Other major collegesinterested in Hardy were Auburn, LSU and Tennessee State.

Academically, Hardy scored an 18 on his ACT and maintains a 3.4grade point average.

This isn’t the first Player of the Week honor this year forHardy. The week of Sept. 19, Hardy was named Offensive Player ofthe Week in a 55-34 win over Magee. Against Magee, he scored fourTDs on runs of 1, 31, 42 and 65 yards. On defense, he playslinebacker.

“It’s great,” said Hardy about being named Player of the Weekfor the second time this season.

“We didn’t let him touch it (football) very much,” said Hammond.”Four touchdowns on six carries for 178 yards. That’s prettyawesome.”

Hardy and his Cougar teammates kept their cool in the homecomingwin over Terry last Friday. The Bulldawgs used constant trashtalking and hard-hits to highlight an ugly game.

“It was good because they were trying to beat us up physicallyand we won the game,” smiled Hardy. “They trash talked the wholegame.”

Hardy is a gifted athlete. He runs a 40 in 4.5. In the weightroom, he bench presses 300 pounds and squats 520.

Without the help of a talented offensive line, Hardy and otherCougar runningbacks and quarterbacks would get nowhere.

“The whole offensive line has played great,” Hardy said. “Theyopen all the holes for us backs.” His offensive linemen includecenter Phillip Campbell, strong guard Corey Rogers, strong tackleCorey Williams, weak tackle Rodney Kees, tight ends Luke Thomas andAnthony Evans and guard Jonathan Smith.

Hardy takes advantage of those holes to score most of histouchdown coming on off tackle-leads. In the backfield, Hardy hashelp from backs Jonathan Eley and Jason Snell. Quarterback lastweek was sophomore Casey Williams.

“A lot of the credit goes to the offensive line for knowingtheir assignments and executing their assignments,” addedHammond.

For their region game with Raymond Friday night, Hardy wouldlike to see his defense get better. “Our defense will have to getbetter his week. We haven’t had a letdown with our linebackers.We’ve played at a good, consistent level.”

Hardy is pleased to be in the thick of things in the regionrace. “We have come a long way since we have started,” Hardy said.”We’ve had very little injuries. We are concentrating on being inthe number one spot.”

The Cougars are 7-1 overall and 3-1 in the region race, tied forsecond place with McComb (5-3, 3-1). South Pike (7-1, 4-0) leadsthe region and Brookhaven (5-3, 3-2) is fourth.

When football season is over, Hardy will be running track again.Last year, he ran the 100 meter dash with a 10.9 time and the 110meter hurdles finishing with a 15.1.

In his spare time, Hardy says he likes to drag race.

Hardy likes to followed the Tennessee Titans in the NFL andEddie George is his favorite player.

The support he gets from his parents is important to Hardy. “Myparents have encouraged me in sports and in academics,” addedHardy. They keep me going.”

Likewise, he and his teammates are encouraging each other. “Theteam is keeping each other up.”