Natchez, FCHS players get recognition

Published 11:44 pm Thursday, December 10, 2009

NATCHEZ — With football season now over for Mississippi public schools, the focus is now turned towards individual accolades.

Players for both Natchez High School and Franklin County High School were recognized by the Mississippi Association of Coaches, and one Franklin County player was invited to play in the North and South Bernard Blackwell 3A All-Star Game.

Senior Franklin County nose tackle Bobby O’Quinn was just one of 36 players in MHSAA’s 3A classification to be selected for the South’s team.

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“When they only pick 36 players out of South, just to get a kid picked out of all the players submitted by (the many different schools) is a pretty big honor for that guy,” Franklin County head coach Trent Hammond said.

Hammond also said O’Quinn was someone who gave 100 percent effort on every play.

“He plays with a motor going full speed. When the lights come on Friday night, you don’t have to worry about giving him a ‘rah-rah’ speech. You don’t have to worry about him taking plays off.”

For Natchez, senior wide receiver Santorius Pollard was selected to the second team of the MAC All-6A squad.

“He was definitely a go-to guy for us,” Natchez head coach Lance Reed said. “Whenever we had mismatches in coverage, we felt tremendously comfortable about getting him the ball.”

Pollard, whom the Natchez coaches voted as overall team MVP at their awards banquet Wednesday, was a leader both on and off the field, Reed said.

“He’s the kind of guy that, once he got into a groove, he took care of business on and off the field. We’re really going to miss what he brought to the program here.”

At Franklin County, four players in addition to O’Quinn received honors from the MAC. Free safety Milton Griffin, cornerback Billy Norman, offensive tackle Preston Shelton and linebacker LaDarrious Hunt each made the All-3A team. Griffin, Norman and Shelton all made first team, and Hunt made second team.

“Milton Griffin is just one of those dynamic players that doesn’t come around very often,” Hammond said. “He’s a legit 4.4 guy that has great ball skills.

“Billy Norman is a big corner, about 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, and is fast and physical. He’s a guy that doesn’t want to tackle you, he wants to physically punish you if you throw at his area.

“LaDarrious Hunt is an undersized kid playing inside linebacker. He makes tackles sideline-to-sideline and is the heart and soul of our team.”

Hammond also had good things to say about his lone offensive play selected to the All-3A team.

“Preston’s just a big kid. He’s about 6-foot-2, 270 pounds and is extremely strong. He comes off the line of scrimmage with a flat back and punishes people as a run blocker.”

For Reed, having someone recognized for the All-6A team is a testament to the program his coaching staff has built, he said.

“We’re always proud of our young men,” Reed said. “We want our guys to come through our program to be all be all they can be and reach their goals. (Pollard) is a guy that shows we have quality players and athletes here at Natchez High.”

Hammond said he’s pleased to see so many of his defensive players get recognition, and feels it speaks well of Franklin County being a dominant team defensively.

“Our No. 1 goal is to be good on defense, and be physically strong,” Hammond said. “It makes you feel good knowing that other coaches see that you’re accomplishing that goal and that they’re recognizing our kids.”