ND Miguel Reyes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 14, 2007

ND’s Reyes divides time among football, guard and firefighting

By Angie Ledbetter

Miguel Reyes, a senior at North Delta School, puts serving his country first in his life but still finds time to enjoy the sport that he loves most, football.

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Reyes left May 29, for Fort Sill Okla. where he spent the summer doing his 10 weeks of basic training for the National Guard. He graduated from basic training on August 10. He plans to make a career with the National Guard by entering the AIT program and obtaining an engineering degree after graduating from North Delta in 2008.

Reyes kept in shape while in training. He had to rise at 4 a.m. every morning and run five miles. Some of his experiences during his training were shooting M16 rifles, throwing grenades, road marches, daily PT, fire drills and squad leader.

One thing that he did not get to do was see anything outside of the base except on Sundays when he attended church.

Reyes stands 5’6”, weighs 195 pounds and benches 275 pounds.  After playing football since seventh grade, he transferred from South Panola where he played fullback and outside linebacker and was on the State Championship teams for 2005 and 2006.

“I transferred to North Delta so I would get more playing time,” said Reyes.  “It’s a lot smaller school, so you get more playing time.  There are not as many players on the team so you get to know the players a lot better also. They have treated me really good. I like them. I have made a lot of new friends.”    

The coaching staff was another factor for Reyes’ transfer.

“I think the coaching staff at North Delta is wonderful,” said Reyes. “They are more personal with you and that is because it is a lot smaller school. They are really nice also. I think that the football program at North Delta is really good overall.”

Reyes has another calling that he spends his spare time doing also.  He is a volunteer firefighter at Sardis Lake Fire Department where he has been for almost two years.  He loves giving his time as a firefighter.

Reyes’ mother, Karen Jenkins, is very proud of her son being in the National Guard.

“This is a huge leap and it shows what kind of young man he has become and he will be,” Jenkins said. “He decided all of this on his own to join. He did ask his dad his opinion because he had been in the National Guard for eight years.”

Jenkins also said Miguel was ready to come home.  

“He told me that he was ready to come back to Mississippi,” she said. “He has been asking about school. He is ready to start school and play football also.  He loves football.”

North Delta head football coach Richard Russo said Miguel was interested in playing football for North Delta back in February.

“He came to us in February and said that he would be interested in coming to North Delta, where he would be a senior, and playing football,” Russo said. “He really wanted to play all three phases of the game; offense, defense and special teams. I told him that he would definitely have the opportunity here because every year everything starts back over at zero.

“What you did last year has no bearing on positions for this year,” Russo added. “Everybody has to re-earn everything. I explained to him how he would have the opportunity to play fullback and middle linebacker, the two positions that he was interested in trying out for. He has been a very hard worker.”

Reyes did suffer an ankle injury the first day of spring practice.

“We haven’t gotten a true case of what he can do,” Russo said. “He was a little bit behind because the injury slowed him down. I am very anxious for him to come back from the National Guard and see what he can do full speed.

“I think that it is outstanding for a young man to commit his life to our country especially in today’s war climate,” Russo continued.  “It shows that he has got guts. That is the kind of player that I like to look at in the fourth quarter, somebody who has guts. I think joining the National Guard is a very mature decision for a young man.”

Miguel is the son of Brad and Karen Jenkins of Courtland. He has a younger brother, Armando, 16, and a younger sister, Missy, 9.

North Delta will play in a jamboree at Desoto, Ark. Friday. The Green Wave will open the season in Charleston against Strider Friday, August 24.