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Flowers, Myles lead All-Area Defensive Team

Lawrence County senior linebacker Azar Myles seemed to be everywhere on the field on defense for the Cougars.

The senior led the team with 145 tackles on the season and averaged just over 12 tackles per game. Myles also had two sacks and one interception on the season. All 145 of his tackles were solo tackles and he also had eight tackles for losses.

Parker Flowers, who’s played on the high school team since eighth grade, was the best player every time he stepped on the field for Loyd Star not only on offense, but on defense as well.

Flowers seemed to cover everything from sideline to sideline for the Hornets. He was a standout on offense and defense all season for Loyd Star. As the leading rusher and passer for the Hornets, the senior was also the leading tackler with 139 total tackles, 87 of which were solo tackles.

“He was our best defensive player of the season by far,” Loyd Star head coach Adam Cook said. “He’s grown and matured over the past couple of years and he’s earned this achievement.”

For both of their efforts on the defensive side of the football, Myles and Flowers have been named The Daily Leader’s All-Area Defensive Co-MVPs.

Parker Flowers

Many Hornet fans expected Flowers to walk away from the field forever after his mentor, older brother Peyton, died at the end of the 2014 season. It would have been understandable.

Peyton was injured during a game, airlifted to Jackson and died a week later.

Flowers said last year that his brother’s death couldn’t deter him from playing the game they both loved. “If anything, it motivates me to be better and stronger like he was, like he’d want me to be if he was still here,” he said. “…It motivates me to get faster and stronger and be a better football player.”

Cook has said that Flowers is a tremendous competitior and prepares and works as hard as anybody could ask a player to work. “He commits himself in the off-season to the weight room and preparing his body to deal with the punishment of the season,” Cook said previously. “Extremely tough, and he’s a good leader. His inspires his teammates to play for him.”

Azar Myles

“He’s an extremely smart kid and it shows up on the football field,” Lawrence County head coach Jaymie Palmer said of Myles. “He makes all the calls for us on the front seven. Our defensive linemen play very spread out so it opens up our linebackers to make the tackles. He also has an extremely high motor, which helped us on defense all season.”

Myles  had 137 tackles last season as a junior for Lawrence County. The production at the linebacker position is common for a Lawrence County defense. Former Lawrence County linebacker T-Tez Cole was named defensive MVP last year for racking up 187 tackles.

The defensive system for Lawrence County certainly helps a linebacker be more productive, but it takes a special player to lead the team in tackles and make the calls in the front seven. That was Myles.

“Azar is extremely cerebral. He can recognize a play so quickly and make the right play at the right time,” Palmer said. “There aren’t enough words to describe how smart of a kid he is and he’s a great football player.”

Academically and on the football field, Myles stood out above the rest. He was a scholastic award winner and one of the top students in his class. Myles had a couple of junior college offers to play football, but chose not to play. Instead, he’ll attend Delta State University, to study aviation. He wants to be pilot.

“He told me one day that he decided not to play football in college and wanted to go to aviation school and I couldn’t have been happier for him,” Palmer said. “It’s what he wanted to do and that’s all I wanted.”

Myles is originally from Texas and moved to Lawrence County during his sophomore year. He played wide receiver in Texas and Palmer noticed his lateral quickness and toughness. He helped transition Myles to linebacker and the rest is history.

The transition to linebacker worked out perfectly as Myles finished his football career at Lawrence County with  304 total tackles in three seasons.

Bad breaks and injuries plagued the Lawrence County Cougars in 2016 as they limped to a 4-8 record, but despite the disappointing season, the Cougars have the offensive and defensive MVP for The Daily Leader All-Area team. That’s something coach Palmer is very proud of.

“I’m very excited for the kids because they worked had to deserve this,” Palmer said. “They say you get what you deserve in football, but our kids did not deserve the season we had this year. We caught a lot of bad breaks and we honestly deserved better. Our kids worked hard all season long and I’m proud of that.”

The All-Area Defensive Team is made up of players throughout the area with stats being provided by the high school coaches. The team has been formatted to a first team, second team and honorable mentions.

Leading in the trenches for the defensive lineman on the first team are Jeffery Johnson and Diereyun McNair of Brookhaven, Marcus Atterberry and Oliver Moreman of Lawrence County and Darius Porter of Bogue Chitto.

Joining Flowers and Myles at linebackers are Jordan Blackwell of Brookhaven, Brandon Bullock of Lawrence County and Connor Griffin of Brookhaven Academy.

The secondary features Kemarcus Brown of Lawrence County, Axavian Jones and Jemaurian Jones of Brookhaven and Jim Guess of Wesson. The Punter for the first team is Blake Runyan of Wesson.

The players on the defensive line for the second team include Kiernan Williams of Brookhaven, Bobby Pritchard of Wesson, Kyle Culpit of Brookhaven Academy, Tanner Gunther of Bogue Chitto and Taylor Young of Enterprise.

Filling in at linebacker on the second team are Wesley Calcote of Brookhaven, Jerry Barlow of Wesson, Blake Ramsey of Loyd Star, Drake Allen of Enterprise and Sherman Jackson of Bogue Chitto.

The secondary of the second team are Tavarius Newton and Isaiah Wall of Brookhaven, AJ McLaurin of Lawrence County and Michael Harvey of Loyd Star. The punter for the second team is Gage White of Lawrence County.

First team:

Jeffery Johnson

Johnson was a force on the defensive line for the Panthers all season. He led the team with nine sacks and had 51 tackles as well. His efforts helped him place on the second team all-state.

Marcus Atterberry

Atterberry was a force not only at tight end, but on the defensive line as well. The senior totaled 75 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss and four sacks. His efforts also put him on the all-state second team.

Oliver Moreman

Moreman joined Atterberry on a strong defensive line for Lawrence County. As only a sophomore, Moreman had 42 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and three sacks as well. He’ll have a bigger role next year for the Cougars.

Direyun McNair

McNair joins Jeffery Johnson on the defensive line for Brookhaven. The senior had 44 tackles and 5.5 sacks on the season.

Darrius Porter

Despite Bogue Chitto finishing the season winless, Porter was a bright spot on the defensive side of the football. Porter had 80 total tackles on the season and three tackles for a loss for the Bobcats.

Jordan Blackwell

As the leader of the Brookhaven defense, Blackwell took command of a strong Panther defense on the way to the playoffs. Blackwell finished with 86 total tackles, four tackles for a loss and three sacks. Blackwell was also named to the second team all-state.

Brandon Bullock 

Bullock joins teammate Azar Myles at the linebacker position for Lawrence County. Bullock also had impressive number with 109 total tackles, two interceptions and one caused fumble.

Connor Griffin

The outside linebacker for Brookhaven Academy was the standout player on defense for the Cougars. Griffin finished with 66.5 total tackles on the season.

Kemarcus Brown

The senior from Lawrence County headlines a strong secondary for the All-Area Defensive First Team. Brown finished the season with 87 tackles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Axavian Jones

The sophomore was a standout on the Panther secondary. The sophomore finished with 43 total tackles, three pass breakups and two interceptions on the season.

Jemaurian Jones

Jones joins teammate Axavian Jones on the All-Area Defensive First Team. Jones finished with 38 total tackles, five pass breakups and four interceptions on the season.

Jim Guess

The strong safety for Wesson led the team in tackles with 74 total tackles, 64 of which were solo tackles. Guess also had eight tackles for a loss, three fumble recoveries, two interceptions and one defensive touchdown.

Blake Runyan

The senior punter for Wesson had 18 punts on the season that traveled an average of 35.3 yards. His longest punt of the season traveled 53 yards and had two punts land inside the 20-yard line.

Second team:

Kieran Williams

The senior for Brookhaven is the third defensive lineman from the Panthers to be named to the All-Area team. Williams finished the season with 25 total tackles, four tackles for a loss and three sacks.

Bobby Pritchard

Pritchard was a force on the defensive line for Wesson. The senior finished with 50 total tackles, 33 of them solo tackles, four tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

Kyle Culpit

Culpit was a standout on the defensive line for Brookhaven Academy with 45.5 total tackles for the season.

Tanner Gunther

Gunther was a force on the defensive line for Bogue Chitto. The junior finished with 60 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries on the season.

Taylor Young

As only a freshman, Young was dominant on the Enterprise defensive line and finished with 60 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss and two fumble recoveries.

Wesley Calcote

Calcote joins Jordan Blackwell as linebackers from Brookhaven on the All-Area team. The sophomore finished with 58 total tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception on the season.

Jerry Barlow

Barlow commanded the middle for the Wesson defense and finished with 55 total tackles, 34 of which were solo tackles, one fumble recovery and one interception on the season.

Blake Ramsey

Ramsey joins Loyd Star teammate Parker Flowers as linebackers on the All-Area team. Ramsey had 51 total tackles on the season.

Drake Allen

The linebacker for Enterprise finished the season with 46 total tackles and one sack.

Sherman Jackson

The senior linebacker for Bogue Chitto finished the season with 37 total tackles.

Tavarius Newton

The senior for Brookhaven finished the season with 32 total tackles and 10 pass breakups on the season.

Isaiah Wall

The sophomore is the fourth defensive back from Brookhaven to be named to the All-Area team. Wall finished the season with 53 total tackles.

AJ McLaurin

McLaurin was named to the All-Area Offensive Second Team and is now named to the All-Area Defensive Second Team as well. At defensive back, the senior finished with 38 total tackles and three interceptions.

Michael Harvey

The senior from Loyd Star finished the season with 67 total tackles, one interception and two forced fumbles.

Gage White

White has been named to the All-Area Offensive Second Team as a kicker and now joins the All-Area Defensive Second Team as the punter. The senior from Lawrence County averaged 36.7 yards per punt this season.