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Channell makes big strides in football

WESSON – Brian Channell has made giant strides when it comes torunning the football. The Wesson junior rushed 23 times for 160yards and 2 touchdowns in the Cobras’ 22-19 homecoming win over theClass 4A Terry Bulldogs.

For his performance, Channell has been selected The DAILYLEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week for the fifth week of the2003 campaign.

“I want to thank my teammates for helping me win this award,”said Channell (5-10, 165). “I want to thank all the coaches, too. Ithank my parents (Mildred and Rob Channell).

“I also want to thank God for giving me the ability to playfootball.”

Wesson lost most of its skill players on offense to graduation,among them tailback Emmanuel Sinclair, the DL’s All-Area OffensivePlayer of the Year. Also graduated was fullback/linebacker RussellRobinson, the DL’s Player of the Year on the All-Area squad; plusAll-Area Defensive Player Ryan Williams.

“Our team is doing really good,” said Channell. “We arecontinually getting better and better. We all get along well.There’s good chemistry on this team.”

Wesson head coach Ronald Greer said Channell has shown steadyimprovement in a massive rebuilding year for his squad. The Cobrasare 2-time defending Region 6-2A champions.

“I think Brian has steadily improved every game this year,” saidGreer. “He worked extremely hard in the offseason. It helped hisspeed, too, because he did a lot of running. He is starting to runwith more authority.”

Occasionally, Channell will play some outside linebacker andfree safety for the Cobras. Most of the time he concentrates onoffense.

Offense was where Channell was tuned Friday night against Terry.He is part of Wesson’s option attack which sees quarterback NickGunter pulling the trigger.

“The option was working pretty good most of the time,” saidChannell. “Nick reads the defense. He’ll hand it off to thefullback or keep it. When I get the ball I look for the holes andtry to follow my blockers.”

Channell praised the efforts of his offensive line. “They do areally good job.”

Wesson’s offensive line features Mark Lilly at center, HermanJohnson and Josh Sanders at guard, Benton Bell and Phillip Freemanat tackle and Sidney Thompson at tight end. Rotating at widereceiver are Corey Gemelli, Corey Puckett and Johnny Butler.

Also in the backfield are fullback Ladelle Jackson and wingbackBrad Brister.

Greer said Channell has worked hard to improve his footballskills. “Brian has pretty good speed. The more he runs withdetermination, the better he becomes. He has good legstrength.”

In the weight room, Channell bench presses 215 pounds and squatswith 375. He runs a 4.9 in the 40.

A good student in the classroom, Channell makes A’s and B’s.”C’s aren’t acceptable.” His favorite subject is math.

Wesson (3-2) had lost 2 straight games entering the homecomingtest with Terry. “Winning made the homecoming dance moreenjoyable,” said Channell.

Picked to finish No. 1 in a preseason poll of Region 6-2Acoaches, the Cobras face their first region test Friday atarchrival Loyd Star. The Hornets are undefeated (5-0) and rankedNo. 8 in the latest Associated Press Small School Prep Poll.

“We have to stay focused and play smart football against LoydStar,” said Channell. “This is a big game for both teams.”

A third baseman in baseball, Channell plans to try out forWesson’s soccer team this winter. In his spare time, he enjoysfollowing Southern Miss and Ole Miss. He likes Kansas City andTampa Bay in the NFL.