Bigner’s title leads Bogue Chitto

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 30, 2007

BOGUE CHITTO — Robert (Bubba) Bigner smiled knowingly when hewas asked about the benefits of powerlifting. Bogue Chitto’s biglineman was fresh from winning the Class 1A State PowerliftingChampionship in the Super Heavyweight Division.

“It makes you faster and you become a better blocker,” saidBigner, explaining the perks of powerlifting. “It sure gets youstronger.”

Bigner, an eye-popping 6-foot-3 and 330-pound junior, set aprecedent for the Bobcats. He amassed a total poundage of 1,170pounds in three lifts. It included a 450-pound squat, a 260 benchpress and a 460 dead lift.

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Coached by Chad Norton, the Bogue Chitto Bobcats made a strongshowing in the Class 1A State Tournament, placing fifth out of 16teams. Josh Wallace, a 220-pound sophomore linebacker, placedsecond overall in the 242-pound class. Colton McClendon, a120-pound seventh grade quarterback/cornerback was runner-up in the114-pound class. James Anderson, a 130-pound freshmantailback/cornerback was sixth in the 123-pound class.

“As a team, I was real proud of the effort,” said Coach Nortonwho is in his first year at Bogue Chitto. “We are looking toimprove on our fifth place finish in state next year.”

According to Norton, the level of competition at the statetournament has increased dramatically from 2006. “Ten of lastyear’s winners would not have won state because of the higher levelof competition.”

Only the top 3 finishers in each weight division out of theNorth and South Mississippi regionals advanced to the statecompetition at Madison Central. Gulfport St. John claimed the state1A crown.

“Four of our lifters came in fourth at South State in Gulfport,”said Norton. The quartet included lineman Robert Lewis, tailbackDonyea Dillon, tackle Luther Watts and cornerback Anthony Tate.

Usually, powerlifting attracts football players. Norton saidlifting weights benefits athletes in all sports.

“Powerlifting helps in all sports,” said Norton, “not justfootball.”

He is a 1992 graduate of Puckett High School where he playedfootball and began lifting weights. He serves as defensivecoordinator and offensive line coach at Bogue Chitto.

Norton majored in business at Mississippi State University buthis first love is coaching. He said the Bogue Chitto playersencourage each other.

“They help each other to lift more and get stronger,” saidNorton. “It becomes a team effort.”

There are 15 powerlifters on BC’s squad. Twelve lifterscompete.

Wallace (5-10, 220) plays right guard and middle linebacker forthe Bobcats. He said he likes powerlifting. “It definitely gets youstronger. It makes you faster and a better blocker.”

Wallace set a state record in his weight division, benching 305pounds. He also had a squat of 425 and deadlift of 425, giving himan 1,155 total.

“Coach gives me a lot of encouragement,” said Wallace.

This is the first year for McClendon (5-3, 120) to lift. Hefaced much older competitors. “I was competing against 11th and 12graders.”

McClendon had a total of 665 pounds. He had a 240-pound squat, a305-pound deadlift and a 120 bench.

Anderson (5-7, 130) had a total poundage of 645. He benched 140,squatted 240 and deadlifted 265.

Gareth Sartin coaches the Bogue Chitto football team. TheBobcats advanced to the state playoffs last season and theyanticipate making another run in 2007.