Hazlehurst’s Cain a leader on both sides of ball

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

HAZLEHURST – Demetrius Cain provides the No. 1-ranked Hazlehurst Indians with a 1-2 punch on offense and defense. The senior standout showcased his running prowess last Friday night, rushing 11 times for 157 yards and one touchdown in Hazlehurst’s 40-19 victory over the Franklin County Bulldogs.

     That performance has earned Cain The DAILY LEADER’s Offensive Player of the Week recognition.

     Hazlehurst coach Randal Montgomery recognizes Cain’s value to his team. “Demetrius knows more of what we expect of him. This is his second year under a new system.

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     “He’s one of those guys who leads by example,” Montgomery continued. “He steps up and can really turn it on for big games.”

  Cain (6-0, 205) is Hazlehurst’s rushing leader. He has 772 total rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. He also has 257 yards receiving on 11 receptions and 1 TD.

     “We have been able to move Demetrius around this year because we have had more guys step up and take some major roles on offense,” said Montgomery. “They even call their own plays.”

     Senior quarterback Kenny Coleman is having a good season for the Indians. Running backs Aaron Larry, Freddie Nelson and D’Alex Rockingham, who scored three touchdowns in the win against Franklin County, provide depth and speed.

     On defense, Cain is a leader for the Indians at middle linebacker. He had 9 tackles and a fumble recovery against Franklin County.

     Cain was named The DAILY LEADER’s Mr. Football and Player of the Year on the 2011 All-Area Team. Coleman was recognized as Offensive Player of the Year as the Indians marched to the Class 3A state championship game.

      “It was a decent game,” said Cain, reviewing the win over Franklin County.  “We weren’t focused on the game in the first half.

     “We had a talk at halftime,” said Cain. “I told the backs we had to get out there. I wasn’t surprised by Rockingham. He scored three times.”

     Wilson sustained a concussion on a kickoff.

     Cain said he gained a lot of yards on screen plays. “Our tight end was doing a good job on hooks (blocks).”

     Hazlehurst finished 12-2 last season. The Indians won South State but lost to Charleston in the state championship game.

      “I think we are better as a team this year,” said Cain. “We have experience on offense and defense. There aren’t as many players banged up.”

     Cain and his teammates have another big game Friday night when they host Wilkinson County for Homecoming 2012. Hazlehurst is 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the region race. Wilkinson County (6-1, 1-1), the region’s surprise team, is close behind.

     “Wilkinson County is pretty good,” said Cain. “This being our homecoming, we have to come out and get the win.”

     Cain complimented Hazlehurst’s offensive linemen. “Our offensive line gets better every week. They get four or five pancakes every game. I hope they turn it up at playoff time.”

     Hazlehurst’s offensive line includes center Torian Samuels, left guard Terry Baker, right guard Joe Nelson, left tackle Ivan Mazie and right tackle Darius Washington.

     “My goal and the team goal is to go back to state and win it,” said Cain.

     Asked to describe Hazlehurst’s team, Cain said,  “We dominate the line of scrimmage. You can’t stop our running game. We are a physical team. We get after the football on defense.

We have more depth this year.”

     Cain said he enjoys playing for Coach Montgomery. “I love playing for him. He’s a leader.”

     He praised the coaching staff. “All the coaches have been with us since I got in high school. They work hard and do a good job.”

     Looking to the future, Cain said he wants to play college football. Mississippi State has expressed a strong interest in him.

     “Right now, our No. 1 goal is winning a state championship,” said Cain.

     Wearing jersey No. 2, Cain wears his older brother’s number. He said Hazlehurst assistant coach Damien Gary also wore that number in high school.

     Cain has surprising speed and strength. He can bench press 305 pounds and squat with 495.

     In the spring he runs track. He competes in the  4×200 and 4×100 relays.