Wesson’s Robinson earns Mr. Football

Published 6:00 am Monday, January 6, 2003

Wesson senior Russell Robinson goes full speed, either rushingthe football on offense or making a hit on defense. Playingfullback and linebacker respectively, Robinson’s leadership helpedthe Cobras to another successful football campaign.

Wesson repeated as Region 6-2A champ and finished with a 10-2record after falling to Lumberton in a close game in the secondround of the South State football playoffs.

Robinson (6-2, 194) excelled on defense with 139 tackles andfive sacks this season. For his accomplishments, Robinson has beennamed THE DAILY LEADER’s Most Valuable Player of the Year on the2002 All-Area Football Team, earning him the title of Mr.Football.

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Selected as Most Valuable Player on offense was Emanuel Sinclairof Wesson. Franklin County’s Aaron Jones and Wesson’s Ryan Williamswere picked as Co-Defensiive Players of the Year.

The team, selected by THE DAILY LEADER sports staff, with inputfrom area coaches, includes players outside of Lincoln County.

Heading the offense at quarterback are Fred Jones of South Pike,Patrick Williams of Copiah Academy and Colby Beach of FranklinCounty. At running back are Sinclair, Fred Williams of Hazlehurst,Cecil Kenzie of Franklin County and Jessie Burton of South Pike.Byron Brooks of Franklin County is the tight end.

The offensive line features Brandon Halford of Franklin County,Johnathan Smith of Lawrence County, Timothy Collins of McComb, JoshMcCormick of Wesson and Cory Rogers of Lawrence County. Smith is arepeater from last year’s team.

Nick Gunter of Wesson returns as place kicker. Jonathan Smith ofMcComb is the all-purpose player. Jon Hickingbottom of FranklinCounty is the return specialist.

On defense, Matt Dyess of Wesson returns to lead the linemen.Joining Dyess in the trench are Ryan Taylor of South Pike, PatrickBozeman of Hazlehurst and Eltrio Spears of McComb. At linebackerare Robinson, Joe Taylor and Jones. Kevin Wallace of LawrenceCounty, Mark Butler of North Pike, Roy Howard of Hazlehurst andWilliams make up the defensive secondary.

Team punter is Chris Blackwell of Franklin County.

“It’s a honor,” said Robinson. “I appreciate it. I was inspired.I couldn’t do anything without the team. There is nobody else I’drather play with. I wish we could play again.”

Robinson was named Region 6-2A Most Valuable Player and wasselected to the MAC (Mississippi Association of Coaches) secondteam defense as an inside linebacker.

Robinson wants to continue playing football on the junior orsenior college level. He has had offers but is waiting.

“He (Robinson) has been a leader for three years,” said Wessonhead football coach Ronald Greer. “He’s just as hard-nosed as youcould want him to be. He has been extremely committed to ouroffseason program. He has led by example.”

As a fullback, Robinson rushed for 579 yards and scored 11touchdowns.

Emanuel Sinclair (5-10, 165) carried the football 161 times for1,704 yards and 22 touchdowns. He averaged 10.6 yards per carry.Overall, Sinclair has collected 2,134 all-purpose yards. He wasalso named Region 6-2A Most Valuable Offensive Player and selectedto the MAC first team offense as a runningback.

“Emanual has made the most progress in one year than anyone I’vecoached,” stated Greer. “He took it to a new level this year. He isas good a back as any we have had. He has the best lower bodystrength of anyone (squatting 500 pounds).”

Aaron Jones (6-0, 190) finished with 90 tackles, two fumblerecoveries and one pass interception for 9-3 Franklin County,helping the Bulldogs win the Region 6-4A championship.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Jones. “I’m very glad to be part ofa great team like this. I couldn’t have done it without myteammates. Our defensive guys were dedicated. If they didn’t havethe ability, they had the heart.”

Franklin County head football coach Anthony Hart was impressedwith Jones’ hitting tenacity. “He has tackling and hitting ability.He is one of the hardest hitters I’ve ever coached.”

Ryan Williams (5-9, 160) collected 94 tackles and interceptedsix passes for Wesson. At wingback, he rushed 50 times for 431yards and scored eight touchdowns. Williams finished the year with1,093 all-purpose yards.

“I fell pretty good about it,” said Williams “I’m proud of myteammates (Robinson and Sinclair).

Following graduation, Williams plans to play baseball for CoachKeith Case at Co-Lin. Williams batted. .357 his junior year. Heplayed catcher and outfielder.

“He is tough,” said Greer about Williams. “He is a good hitter.He doesn’t have a lot of concern for his own body. He is an awfullot of fun to watch play. He is the most versatile kid I’vecoached.”

Williams has played linebacker, defensive back, tailback,wingback and long snapper for the Cobras.

Fred Jones, a junior, completed 53 of 112 passes for 889 yardsand 19 touchdowns as quarterback for the South Pike Eagles. UnderCoach Greg Wall, the Eagles finished the season 10-2. Jones wasselected to the Region 6-4A All-Division team.

Colby Beach, a senior, completed 47 of 128 passes for 804 yardsincluding eight touchdowns for Franklin County. He rushed thefootball 82 times for 457 yards and seven TD’s.

Patrick Williams, a senior, completed 42 of 110 passes for 774yads and 4 TDs. He rushed for 861 yards and 12 TDs for Coach TimEllison’s Colonels.

Fred Williams of Hazlehurst was named the Region 7-3A Player ofthe Year. Williams, a junior, rushed for 1,803 yards and scored 24touchdowns for Coach Willie Brown’s Indians.

Jessie Burton, a senior, played for 6-4A champ South Pike. Anexceptional runner, Burton carried the football 85 times for 526yards and scored seven touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 371yards (18.6 average) for six touchdowns. He was picked to theRegion 6-4A All-Division team.

Cecil Kenzie, a senior, rushed for 641 yards and scored 12touchdowns as a fullback for Franklin County. He was also selectedto the Region 7-3A All-Division team.

Brandon Halford, who played offensive lineman, was one the keyreasons for the success of Franklin County. Halford, a senior, wasselected the Region 7-3A All-Division team.

Johnathan Smith, a senior offensive lineman for Coach TrentHammond’s 4-7 Lawrence County Cougars, is a repeater from lastyear’s team and was named this year to the Region 6-4A All-Divisionteam.

Timothy Collins wrapped up his senior season for Coach TedMilton’s McComb Tigers as a standout lineman for the 8-3 Tigers andwas selected the Region 6-4A team.

Josh McCormick excelled in his senior year on both sides of theline for Wesson. McCormick, who was named to the Region 6-2A firstteam, was selected to the MAC second team offense as a guard. Hehelped the Cobras’ offense produce 3,430 yards and score 383 pointsfor a 31.9 point average.

Cory Rogers, a senior, worked hard on the line for LawrenceCounty which had one of the toughest schedules in the region. Hewas picked to the Region 6-4A All-Division team.

Byron Brooks, a senior, played wide receiver and punter forFranklin. Brooks caught 21 passes for 415 yards and seventouchdowns. He punted 30 times for 1,090 yards, a 36.3 average.

Nick Gunter returns for his third straight year as team punter.A junior, Gunter finished the season with a 39.3-yard average withhis longest punt being 48 yards. He was named Most ValuablePlacekicker on the Region 6-2A All-Division team this season.

Jon Hickingbottom, a senior, played runningback for the Bulldogswith 63 carries for 458 yards and six touchdowns. Hickingbottomalso caught eight passes for 120 yards and one TD.

Jonathan Smith played hard his senior year as a tailback forMcComb. Smith was named to the Region 6-4A All-Division team,rushing for over 800 yards.

Matt Dyess, a senior, was selected by the MAC to the first teamdefense as a tackle. He was the second leading tackler on theWesson team with 117 stops and nine sacks.

Ryan Taylor played noseguard his senior year for South Pike.Taylor was picked to the Region 6-4A team.

Patrick Bozeman, a senior, played offensive tackle forHazlehurst. Bozeman was selected to the Region 7-3A All-Divisionteam.

Eltrio Spears was fullback and defensive lineman for McComb. Asenior, Spears was named to the Region 6-4A All-Division team.

Joe Taylor played linebacker his senior year with South Pike.Taylor was named Region 6-4A Most Valuable Player and to the MÃ…CFirst Team Defense as inside linebacker.

Kevin Wallace, a junior, was selected to the Region 6-4A teamfrom Lawrence County.

Mark Butler, a senior, played defensive end for the North PikeJaguars. Butler was named Region 7-3A Most Valuable DefensivePlayer.

Roy Howard played for Hazlehurst his senior year and led thestate with 14 passin terceptions. Howard (5-11, 175) playeddefensive back with 47 tackles andn one sack on the season.

Chris Blackwell was named as kicker to the Region 7-3AAll-Division team from Franklin County. Blackwell made 24 of 29 inextra points and was 3-for-3 in field goals.