McNulty has speed, power on gridiron

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Brookhaven running back Ronnie McNulty has a smile as big asTexas. He was grinning Tuesday afternoon after being informed thathe was The DAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week for the 11thweek of the 2003 campaign.

In last Friday’s 35-20 comeback victory over Pearl RiverCentral, McNulty rushed the football 20 times for 202 yards and 3touchdowns. He also caught 1 pass for 10 yards as the Panthers wontheir opening round game in the Class 4A state playoffs.

Blessed with explosive speed and strength, McNulty plays muchlarger than his 5-foot-7, 160-pound frame would indicate. Thetalented junior scored touchdowns on runs of 46, 10 and 4 yardsagainst Pearl River Central.

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“Our offensive line was making perfect blocks,” explainedMcNulty when asked about his success. “Our line had an outstandinggame. They take care of me.”

McNulty recognized the starting offensive line which includesGrant McDonnieal at center, Kenneth Fairman and Adam Ogden atguard, Tyler Gatlin and James Barker at tackle and Darius Perkinsat tight end. He said he wasn’t too worried when the Panthers fellbehind 20-14 at halftime.

“I had confidence in our defense,” said McNulty. “I knew theywould step up. Our offense went out and executed.”

McNulty also saw some spot duty on defense at cornerback. “Itfeels natural for me to play cornerback. (Senior safety) JarvisWilson helps me out.”

Brookhaven head coach Tucker Peavey recognizes McNulty’s uniqueskills. “Ronnie has a lot of athletic ability. He has that burst ofspeed which kind of sets him apart. He’s a physical player. He runswell with speed and power.”

“He has good awareness of what it going on,” Peavey pointed out.”He runs with good vision.”

McNulty runs a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash. He benches 250 poundsand squats with 395.

According to McNulty, looks are deceiving. At first glance hedoesn’t resemble a big, bruising football player.

“Some people are shocked when I tell them I play football,”laughed McNulty. “My size makes it easier for me to cut off myblocks. I have to be aggressive on the football field.”

A strong desire to be successful gives McNulty an extra edge. “Ilove football and I put my heart in the game.”

He is the son of Margaret and Donald McDaniel.

McNulty also runs the sprints and short relays in track. Heplays shortstop in baseball.

In the classroom, McNulty said he enjoys science and history. Inhis spare time, he follows Ole Miss, LSU, Auburn and Alabama. Inthe NFL, his favorite players are wide receiver Dante Hall of theKansas City Chiefs and running back Clinton Portis of the DenverBroncos. Portis is explosive and always seems to find the goalline.

McNulty has rushed for 984 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.He has 7 receptions for 50 yards.

Brookhaven stands at 9-2 on the season and is ranked No. 6 inthe latest Associated Press Prep Poll. The Panthers are focused onwinning more playoff games, starting with No. 3-ranked Wayne CountyFriday night.

“We are stepping it up as a unit,” said McNulty. “We get rid ofour worries and problems in the meeting room. Then we’re ready tostep out on the football field.”

McNulty complimented the BHS coaching staff. “We have the bestgroup of coaches in Mississippi. They’ll have the right scheme forus Friday night.

“Wayne County looks real good on film but we are going to showthem what we can do Friday night,” McNulty predicted. “This will beour biggest game of the season. Whoever wants it the most willwin.”