Clopton wants focus from Ole Brook in summer

Published 7:45 pm Monday, June 5, 2017

In the heat of summer workouts, football teams are not allowed to wear pads until school rolls around.

For Brookhaven head football coach Tommy Clopton, there’s still plenty of ways to make sure his players develop right over the grueling months of June and July.

With summer workouts starting last week, Clopton makes his players focus on conditioning, speed training and weightlifting to pass the time until the pads are strapped on in August.

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His players will be ready for the tough opening schedule that features a jamboree game against Brandon and a home opener against Pearl.

“We’ll do a lot of conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season,” Clopton said. “We want to develop our players and see them improve before the jamboree comes around.”

The core of the Brookhaven roster returns this season after a successful 8-4 campaign in 2016. A big return for the Ole Brook roster is rising junior quarterback Sevante Quinn, who missed half of the 2016 season with an injury sustained in their win over Provine in October.

Quinn is back to lead the offense and so is rising senior  and 1,000 yard rusher Damarrell Leggett.

“Sevante (Quinn) is improving day by day as a player and we look forward to him having a big year for our team,” Clopton said. “(Damarrell) Leggett returning for our offense is a big deal for us and he can have an even bigger year in our backfield.”

Along with Quinn and Leggett returning, four of the five offensive linemen from last year’s team returns in 2017. The offensive line is headlined by rising senior Trace Clopton, who has received multiple Division I scholarship offers.

The Panther defense is headlined by rising senior defensive lineman Jeffery Johnson and rising senior defensive back Jemaurian Jones. Both Johnson and Jones are two of the most highly recruited player to come out of Ole Brook along with Leo Lewis.

“The sky is the limit for those two young men,” Clopton said about Johnson and Jones. “A lot of our defensive players have started for us since sophomores. God has given them incredible talent. They’re going to be great leaders and great football players for us.”

The summer program started off with terrible news with the death of Jordan Blackwell, who was killed in the shooting in Bogue Chitto Memorial Day weekend.

Blackwell was a leader on the defense at the linebacker position and his spot will be tough to fill.

“Losing Jordan Blackwell is a major hit in many ways,” Clopton said. “He was our captain on defense.”

Staying focused and meeting personal goals is what Clopton wants from his players when the summer ends and the pads get put on for the 2017 season.

It’s a long two months before the real season starts, but the Ole Brook Panthers have those months to develop their identity and get in the best shape possible to take on their grueling first two games.

“Focus is the main difference,” Clopton said. “We have to focus on our own goals and the goals of our young men and try to reach those goals.”