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Hazlehurst Indians hunt state title

HAZLEHURST — The Hazlehurst football team may be in unexploredterritory but the Indians are outstanding trailblazers on thegridiron. They make their first-ever state championship gameappearance Saturday when the Indians (12-0) meet Charleston’sTigers (13-1) for the Class 3A state title.

Kickoff is 11 a.m., in Jackson’s Mississippi Veterans MemorialStadium. It’s the first championship game appearance for bothteams.

“It has been an outstanding year and I’m proud of our kids,”said Brown. He watched his Indians ambush previously undefeatedSouth Pike 22-19 last Friday night in the South State title game atHazlehurst, witnessed by a record crowd of 5,000-plus.

Brown was presented the MHSAA South State championship trophy atMonday’s media conference in Jackson. Charleston received the Northtitle trophy after knocking off defending state champion Senatobia27-6 last Friday.

Brown said Charleston has a strong team. “We’ve had a chance towatch film and Charleston is fast and strong. They play gooddefense and run the football well on offense.”

Brown’s Indians have sparkled on offense and defense thisseason. They have a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Courtney Hall(5-8, 170, jr.) and Bobby Moore (6-0, 170, jr.). Hall has rushedfor 1,415 yards. Moore has gained 1,213 yards.

“Hall credits his quickness and speed, plus the offensive line,as keys to his success. “As long as my line does their best, I’lldo good. I was born with speed.”

Against South Pike, Hall rushed for 30 yards and 1 TD. He alsoscored a pair of 2-point conversions on end sweeps.

Three more strong rushers for Hazlehurst are fullback KynshunReese, wingback Dearrion Wilbert and quarterback Damien Anderson.Reese (5-7, 170, fr.) has gained 839 yards this season, including59 yards against South Pike. Wilbert has 483 yards and Anderson has416.

Anderson passed for 91 yards and a touchdown against South Pike.He also rushed for 27 yards and a TD.

Hazlehurst’s starting offensive line includes Robert Benson(6-0, 230, jr.) at center, Michael Porter (6-1, 245, sr.) at leftguard, Cameron Murray (6-1, 225, sr.) at right guard, EldricChristmas (6-0, 235, sr.) at left tackle and Chris Harris (6-0,250, jr.) at right tackle.

At tight end for the Indians is Jasmine Guy (6-4, 238, jr.).Johnny Sanders (6-3, 200, sr.) is the split end.

Sanders is the leader on Hazlehurst’s cat-quick, rip-sawdefense. He has 170 tackles and 12 quarterback sacks, plus 4interceptions.

“I like to hit people,” said Sanders, smiling. His favorite NFLplayer is linebacker Ray Lewis. “Everybody plays hard and does agood job on our defense. We are strong and we play together.”

Devin Johnson (265, sr.) works at defensive tackle and has made97 tackles this year. Guy has 73 tackles and Kevin Holmes has66.

In the secondary, Deaundre Pendleton and Wilberth each have 5interceptions. Hall has 4 pass thefts.