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BOBCAT POWER

BOGUE CHITTO – Powerlifting is becoming a popular high schoolsport in Mississippi. At Bogue Chitto, the Bobcats have embracedpowerlifting and two of the lifters, Tyler Saucier and Shane (Buck)Lewis recently won their weight divisions in the Class 1A StatePowerlifting Meet.

Lewis, a junior, and Saucier, a sophomore; achieved state titlestatus and received gold medals. As a team, the Bobcats finishedwithin one point of winning the state title. Coffeeville outscoredBogue Chitto 40-39.

Lewis, a 6-foot-3, 282 pounder, competed in the 308-pound division.In the three disciplined lifts, he bench pressed 245 pounds,squatted with 410 pounds and dead lifted 485.

A two-way lineman in football, Lewis also plays basketball, makinghis massive physical presence felt at the post position. This ishis first year to be a member of the powerlifting team and heenjoys it.

“I like the deadlift best,” said Lewis. “I can do a lot of weight.It helps me to get stronger and better.”

Lewis said powerlifting coach Chad Norton provides plenty ofleadership and instruction. “Coach Norton pushes us and makes us doeverything right.”

Powerlifting requires strict discipline on each lift. Refereesissue a series of commands to each lifter. Failure to obey thecommands results in disqualification.

Saucier (6-2, 150) plays safety and wide receiver for the Bobcats.He plans to play basketball next season. This is his first year tolift competitively.

Asked about his favorite lift, Saucier said he liked the deadlift.”I do a lot of weight for my size and height.”

At state, Saucier competed in the 148-pound division. He had liftsof 305 pounds in the squat, 180 in the bench and 400 in thedeadlift.

“Lifting weights makes me stronger and faster in the sports Iplay,” said Saucier. “Coach Norton pushes us hard to do better inevery sport.”

The Bobcats won the South State 1A and district titles lastmonth.

North serves as offensive and defensive line coach at Bogue Chitto.Head football coach Gareth Sartin assists with the powerliftinggroup.

“Besides being in here just to lift and play, powerlifting givesthem something to work for,” said Norton. There are 12 slots tofill on a varsity powerlifting team.

Ten of the 12 BC lifters advanced to state.

Lifting weights is compulsory for football players but it canbecome drudgery. Norton and Sartin inject enthusiasm.

“(Powerlifting) helps with morale,” said Norton. “The kids compete.We have three Blackwell brothers and the youngest is in the eighthgrade. If one of them does something good when we max out, it makesthe others try harder.”

According to Norton, powerlifting requires a strict discipline foreach lift. “You have to do it the right way or you getdisqualified. Everything gets technical.”

Judges or referees closely observe each lifter. Rules for each liftare closely followed.

“You have to listen to the judges,” said Norton. “They give thecommands. You get disqualified if you don’t follow thecommands.”

Not surprisingly, the discipline spills over onto the footballfield. The Bobcats begin spring practice Monday and conclude thedrills by hosting a jamboree with Wesson and West Lincoln, May 14,on Troy Smith Field.