Lawrence Countians in star wars

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 6, 2009

MONTICELLO — Lawrence County standouts Kendrick Hardy andMonterrio Taylor and LCHS head coach Mike Davis are ready for anall-star experience. The trio will represent their school in theJuly 16, Mississippi Association of Coaches High School All-StarFootball Game.

Kickoff is 7 p.m., Thursday night, July 16, at MississippiCollege’s Robinson-Hale Stadium, located in Clinton. Hardy andTaylor will play for the

South and Davis will coach the offensive line.

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“I’m looking forward to it,” said Coach Davis. “It should be alot of fun.”

All-stars report for physical exams and practice July 13, atHinds Community College in Raymond. The South is under thedirection of Picayune coach Dodd Lee.

Hardy, The DAILY LEADER’s 2008 All-Area Offensive Player of theYear, has enrolled in summer school at Southern Miss where he willbe on scholarship this fall. Besides taking some summer schoolcourses, he is busy working out with other Southern Miss footballplayers.

Hardy, (6-0, 220) compiled some impressive statistics lastseason, helping the Lawrence County Cougars to a 10-2 record andthe Region 6-4A championship. He rushed the football 177 times for1,762 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. He averaged 9.9 yards percarry, making him a prized recruit.

High school success is just a memory as Hardy joins USMteammates in the grueling summer conditioning workouts inHattiesburg.

Asked about his workout routine, Hardy said, “We have to run inthe mornings. We lifted yesterday.”

Hardy’s speed and strength could land him playing time as a truefreshman. Southern Miss coach Larry Fedora employs a wide-open,spread offense.

Hardy said he’s been impressed by his future teammates. “Theseplayers have a lot of heart. I know I’ll have to compete. I’mreally looking forward to the season.”

Next Thursday’s all-star game will be his last high schoolexperience. “There are a lot of good players in it,” said Hardy.”I’m looking forward to it.”

He said he hopes to have Taylor as his roommate. “Monterrio dida good job blocking for me. He pancaked (knocked down) people alot.”

His older brother, Wayne Hardy, is a police officer with theHattiesburg Police Department. Wayne played fullback and linebackerfor the Golden Eagles, from 2003-06. His other brother, Kenterio,is a defensive lineman at Nicholls (La.) State University.

Kendrick said he appreciated the work ethic promoted by CoachDavis, both on and off the field. “I liked playing for Coach Davis.He knew what to do. He made sure we had our grades, too.”

Hardy wore jersey No. 27 in high school. He plans to major inexercise science at Southern Miss.

“Kendrick can flat-out run with the best of them,” said Davis.”He had exceptional speed and talent.

“I enjoyed coaching all three of the Hardy brothers,” Davisadded. “They helped Lawrence County achieve success on the footballfield.”

Taylor (6-1, 225) was a 2-way starter for the Cougars. As adefensive lineman, he accounted for 56 tackles last season,including 30 solo stops. He also had 2 quarterback sacks andintercepted 1 pass.

He has signed a scholarship with Southwest Mississippi CommunityCollege. He reports to campus July 7, to begin summer school.

This summer Taylor has been working with the Lawrence Countysummer youth programs. He plans to become an electrician.

“I’m proud to represent Lawrence County,” said Taylor. “Lastyear we only had one all-star,” referring to linebacker JuliusMagee.

Taylor said he has enjoyed the benefits of hard work before,after and during the football season. “We’ve been 10-2 for twoyears in a row. I’ve learned a lot the past four years from CoachDavis and the other coaches.”

Davis said Taylor’s contributions to Lawrence County’s footballprogram don’t show up on the statistics sheet. “Monterrio justloves the game of football. His smile and enthusiasm is infectiousthroughout the whole team. He’s a good young man to be around. He’salways smiling. It will be fun getting to coach him one moretime.”

Davis will be coaching the South’s offensive line. He saidTaylor is familiar with the blocking schemes because they aresimilar to Lawrence County’s.

All-Star notes: Joining Lee and Davis on the South coachingstaff are John Douglass of Quitman, Brian Oakes, Stone County;Lance Reed, Natchez; David Parker, Morton, and Brian Edwards,Picayune.

Phil Oakley of Senatobia is the North’s head coach. Also onstaff are Greg Robinson, Cleveland; Tavares Johnson, East Side;Carter Norris, Senatobia; Malcolm Jones, McComb, formerly ofIndianola Gentry; Michael Bradley, New Hope, and James Ray,Bruce.