Darius “Tig” Barksdale
By Myra Bean
The Clarion-Ledger released its selection for Mr. Football 2007 and All-State first and second teams Sunday and South Panola was well-represented.
The Tigers’ premier running back, Darius “Tig” Barksdale, was named Mr. Football 2007, making South Panola just the third school to have back-to-back Mr. Footballs in the 31-year history.
Chris Strong, now an Ole Miss Rebel, was Mr. Football 2006. Moss Point has produced the most Mr. Footballs with five over the years and back-to-back in 1983 and 1984. Philadelphia produced back-to-back Mr. Footballs in 1980 and 1981.
Selected for the first team offense were Barksdale and offensive lineman Quin Sanford.
South Panola head coach Lance Pogue commented on each player to The Clarion-Ledger. Pogue said Barksdale has great quickness and explosiveness.
“Then he can cut hard to break a lot of tackles,” Pogue said. “Combine those things and you have a great running back.”
About Sanford, Pogue said his footwork is unbelievable.
“He’s such an explosive athlete,” Pogue said. “His initial step is phenomenal. He can engage a defensive line before a defensive lineman can get on him.”
Selected on first team defense were senior lineman Terrance Pope and junior linebacker David Conner. Pope finished the season with 51 tackles, 15 for loss yards, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.
Pope was a mainstay for the Tiger team, according to Pogue.
“He’s able to get into the offensive lineman quickly and gain leverage.”
Conner finished the season with 97 tackles, 18 for loss yards, 14 sacks and three fumble recoveries.
Pogue told The Clarion Ledger that Conner was relentless.
“He was great blitzing off the corner, but he also was a great cover guy.”
Selected for the second team offense were senior offensive linemen CorDarrius McMurry, Cameron Wagner, Jonathan Wilson and junior offensive lineman Don Blevins.
To clarify information on Pogue, he was named by Schutt Sports the Southwest High School Coach of the Year for 2007. Schutt Sports is an equipment manufacturer that each year selects coaches of the year (in both high school and college divisions) for the magazine, American Football Monthly. In turn, they will have an article on each coach selected in the February issue, according to Rex Lander of American Football Monthly.