Lawrence Co. tailback leads outstanding dream team

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2002

Speed, strength and agility best describe Lawrence County seniortailback Wayne Hardy. Hardy and the Cougars surprised some folks tofinish 9-1 in regular season play and runners-up in the Region6-4A.

In the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs, LawrenceCounty was upset 23-20 by the Florence Eagles. Coach TrentHammond’s Cougars finished 9-2 on the season.

Hardy (6-0, 215) led the Cougar ground game with 123 rushes for1,608 yards and 25 touchdowns. He averaged 13 yards per carry.

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For his accomplishments, Hardy has been named The DailyLeader’s Player of the Year on the 2001 All-Area FootballTeam.

Other top area players selected as Most Valuable Playerswere senior Billy Ray Miller of Wesson on offense and senior JamesHunt of Franklin County on defense. The team, selected by DailyLeader sports staff members with input from area coaches, includesplayers outside of Lincoln County.

Powering the offense at quarterback is Jonathan Brumfield ofSouth Pike. Joining Hardy and Miller in the backfield are JohnLowery of South Pike and Johnathan Eley of Lawrence County.Quintrelle Green of South Pike is wide receiver and Lachad Forestof South Pike is the tight end.

The offensive line includes Charles Powell of Wesson, CraigNunnery of McComb, T.J. Hawley of Franklin County, and Rodney Keysand Jonathan Smith of Lawrence County.

The placekicker is Nick Gunter of Wesson. Return specialistis Marcus Corley of Wesson. McComb’s Marcus Gatlin is the utilityplayer and the all-purpose player is Damien Gary ofHazlehurst.

Powering the defensive line are Brian Crossley of SouthPike, Donald Ray Smith of Franklin County, Taylor McMinn ofFranklin County and Matt Dyess of Wesson.

Linebackers include Hunt, Kareem Coleman of McComb andJerrell McGehee of South Pike.

Making up the defensive secondary are Richie Miller ofWesson, Glover Quinn of North Pike, Brandon Britt of South Pike andJason Snell of Lawrence County.

Copiah Academy’s Thomas Garland is the team punter.

Hardy has made a verbal commitment to sign with the SouthernMississippi Golden Eagles. He also was Lawrence County’s leadingtackler as a linebacker.

“I’m looking forward playing at Southern Miss,” said Hardy.”They have a good program.”

Lawrence County coach Trent Hammond said Hardy deserved theMost Valuable Player honor. “Wayne has been a valuable asset to uson offense and defense. He is a team leader for us, too.”

Miller ( 6-1, 197, sr.)played fullback and led the 11-2 Wesson Cobras to the third roundof the Class 2A state football playoffs and the divisionchampionship.

For his accomplishments, Miller was named to the MACAll-State 2A Team as first team defensive inside linebacker. He wasselected as MVP on the Region 6-2A team and is a repeater from1999’s All-Area Team.

“It feels pretty good,” said Miller. “I know it is my lastyear for high school football.”

Miller rushed 107 times for 1,164 yards for a 10.9 yardaverage. He scored 17 touchdowns.

“He (Billy Ray) is a good kid,” said Wesson head coachRonald Greer. “He has a love for the game. He did everything hecould to get ready to play. He was a good leader for us. We aregonna miss him.”

At linebacker, Miller made 144 total tackles. He had 1 &1/2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries.

Brumfield (6-1, 185, sr.) playedquarterback for the 12-3 South Pike Eagles who went all the way tothe Class 4A state football championship before falling toClarksdale 13-0. On the season, Brumfield completed 47 of 104passes for 107 yards and seven touchdowns. He was named to theAll-Region 6-4A Offensive Team.

Lowery (6-0, 215, sr.) played fullback for SouthPike and finished with 1,076 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight 2-pointconversions. He was also named to the All-Region 6-4A OffensiveTeam.

Eley (6-2, 235, sr.) started at fullback forLawrence County. He had 201 rushes for 1,100 yards and 20touchdowns. He also kicked 32 PATs. Eley was named to theAll-Region 6-4A Offensive Team and is a repeater from the 1999All-Area Team.

Green (5-11, 177, soph.) carried 91 times for 485yards and three touchdowns as a running back for South Pike. Hecaught 16 passes for 236 yards and threetouchdowns.

Forest (6-1, 205, sr.) played tight end for SouthPike and caught 11 passes for 246 yards and a pair of TD’s. He wasalso selected to the All-Region 6-4A OffensiveTeam.

Powell (6-1, 210, jr.) was the strong side guard forWesson on an offense that totaled 3,941 yards. At defensive end, hecollected 78 tackles, seven sacks and recovered five fumbles.Powell was named the All-Region 6-2A First Team.

Nunnery (6-1, 225, jr.) played inside linebacker forthe McComb Tigers. He was named to the All-Region6-4A Defensive Team.

Hawley (6-0, 230, sr.) was named the All-Region 7-3ATeam after playing offensive lineman for FranklinCounty.

Keys (6-3, 250, sr.) played on the offensive linefor Lawrence County. He was named to the All-Region 6-4ATeam.

J. Smith (6-1, 230, jr.) played on the LawrenceCounty offensive line and was selected to the All-Region 7-4ATeam.

Gunter (5-7, 135, soph.) was named All-Region 6-2Akicker. He made 42 out of 46 extra points and 3 out of 6 fieldgoals. His longest field goal was 35 yards. Gunter is a repeaterfrom the 1999 All-Area Team.

Corley (5-8, 160, sr.) played well on both sides ofthe ball for Wesson. He totaled 1,320 yards this season, rushing 59times for 531 yards and scoring 12 TD’s. At free safety, Corleymade 57 tackles, recovered two fumbles and intercepted two passes.He returned 17 kickoffs for 366 yards and a 30.5 yard average.Corley was named to the All-Region 6-2A FirstTeam.

Gatlin (5-8, 160, sr.) was selected to theAll-Region 6-4A Offensive Team and the MAC All-State 4A First TeamOffense as a wide receiver. Gatlin rushed 72 times for 529 yardsand scored four touchdowns. He caught 16 passes for 294 yards andtwo touchdowns. On special teams, Gatlin returned nine kickoffs for407 yards and scored two TD’s.

Gary (5-10, 185, sr.) directed the HazlehurstIndians with 1,300 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. He was pickedto the All-Region 7-3A Team.

Crossley (6-0, 191, sr.) played offensive linemanfor South Pike and was selected to the All-Region 6-4A OffensiveTeam.

D.R. Smith (6-0, 170, soph.) started as an offensiveline for Franklin County and was picked to the All-Region 7-3ATeam. He recorded 70 tackles, 10 sacks, six deflections, fourfumble recoveries and one pass interception.

McMinn (5-10, 160, jr.) also had 70 tackles forFranklin County as teammate Smith did. McMinn was also named to theAll-Region 7-3A Team.

Dyess (6-0, 265, jr.) played defensive tackle forWesson. He collected 92 tackles, recovered one fumble and made onesack. He made 14 tackles in one game. Dyess was named to theAll-Region 6-2A First Team.

Hunt (5-11, 210, jr.) led the Franklin Countydefensive secondary with 95 tackles, 5 deflections and 1 fumblerecovery. He was selected to the All-Region 7-3ATeam.

“I’d really like to thank you all,” said Hunt. “I workedhard to get it. It was the best year we have had in my last threeyears here. Overall, it was a good season for us. I hope the teamwill be even better next year.”

On offense, Hunt was fourth on the Bulldogs team with 62carries for 510 yards and seven touchdowns.

“I plan on playing football,” Hunt stated. “I don’t carewhere it is so long as I get to play.” He plans to major in sportsmedicine.

Franklin County head football coach Michael Goff will missHunt and his contributions. “He has been the leader ondefense for the last 2 years,” said Coach Goff. “He is just a goodperson. He will do good somewheres.”

Hunt was pleased with making the playoffs his senioryear and has high hopes for next year’s squad.

“It was the best year we have in my last three yearshere,” added Hunt. “Overall, it was a good season for us. I hopethe team will be even better next year.”

Coleman (5-11, 197, sr.) of McComb was selected tothe All-Region 6-4A Team as a linebacker. He was also picked as aninside linebacker on the MAC All-Star 4A Second Team Defense. Hisbest game was 14 sacks against South Pike.

McGehee (5-10, 185, jr.) played linebacker for SouthPike and recorded 71 tackles before the Clarksdale game. He waspicked to the All-Region 6-4A.

Richie Miller (603, 165, sr.) was named to theAll-Region 6-4A First Team and the MAC First Team Defense atcornerback. This year, Miller recorded 29 tackles, intercepted 11passes and made one sack. At split end on offense, he caught threetouchdown passes.

Quinn (5-11, 180, soph.) averaged seven tackles pergame for 5-6 North Pike. He also had 12 pass breakups, two forcedfumbles and was a two-year starter for theJackets.

Britt (5-10, 180, jr.) finished this season asdefensive back with seven intercepted passes. On offense, he rushed203 times for 1,075 yards and 14 touchdowns. Britt was selected tothe All-Region 6-4A team as a defensive back.

Snell (6-0, 180, sr.) was named to the All-Region6-4A Team as a running back. He caught five passes for 93 yards andscored two touchdowns. He intercepted fourpasses.

Garland (5-11, 170, sr.) was selected to theAll-District 3-AAA Team as kicker/punter. He punted 34 times for1,288 yards and a 37.9 average. Garland kicked 11 times for twofield goals (longest 38 yards) and 17 total points. At quarterback,he completed 20 of 42 passes for 407 yards and onetouchdown.


Amite County – Nathaniel Banks.

Copiah Academy – Ty Baileu, Austin Baxter, MichaelMcGowan, Charlie Nunnery and Patrick Williams.

Franklin County – Tommie Smith, Byron Brooks, ColbyBeach, Jon Hickingbottom, Marcus Stewart, CliffHerring.

Hazlehurst – DeQuan Belton, Lamon Robinson, PatBozeman, Antonio Mayman, Daguan Delton, RoyHoward.

Lawrence County – Cory Rogers, Luke Thames, CharlesBarnes.

McComb – Eltrio Spears, Mark Sandifer, JamieJordan.

North Pike – Justin Fuller, Steve Garner, DustyDavis.

Parklane – Jared Hall (MAC All-State), DooleySimmons, Cole Lacuria, Tyler Shandy, MitchJohnson, Rob Reeves (MAC All-State), Adam Dossett (MAC All-State)and Beau Greene.

South Pike – Duriel Davis, Joe Taylor, CorneliusWoodard,

Wesson – Ryan Williams, Russell Robinson, KyleSmith.