Local players named to All-MAIS team

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 17, 2010

CENTREVILLE — Centreville Academy versus Trinity Episcopal may be a heated rivalry, but each school would acknowledge the other is pretty good at football.

That was evident recently, as two Centreville players and three Trinity players were nominated for the All-MAIS team.

Centreville’s Cliff Hurst was nominated as a first-team punter, and B.J. Havard made it as a second-team offensive lineman. Trinity’s Kent King made first-team as a return specialist, Givonni Dent made first-team as a defensive back and Tip McKenzie made second-team as a wide receiver.

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Hurst said he was happy to represent his school along with Havard, and that he wouldn’t have gotten the nomination if it weren’t for his team.

“It’s not about us, it’s about the team,” Hurst said. “We had a good group of guys around us that believed in the same things we do.

“Centreville is known for football, and Uncle Bill (Hurst, the Tigers’ head coach) keeps us prepared for life. It’s not just about football with him. He says, ‘If you don’t have someone pushing you as hard as you can to succeed, how will you be successful in life?’”

Havard also praised Bill Hurst for his place on the All-MAIS.

“Coach Hurst is a great man,” Havard said. “My uncle played for him, and my dad played against him in high school. My dad always said he wanted me to play at Centreville, and it’s been fun.

“I’ve played at other schools, and none of them come close to Centreville. It’s just awesome.”

Trinity head coach David King said he was pleased all three of his big three were selected for the team.

“Obviously, I would liked to have seen Tip first team, because he’s one of the most electric players in the state,” King said. “But, he was excited for his senior teammates. He realized it was their year. We’re all happy for him.”

Hurst said he’s been going to camps at LSU, Tulane and Southern Miss to work on his punting skills. He’s also been to several Ray Guy camps, and has gotten some pointers from Guy.

“Ray Guy said, ‘Son, you have a naturally strong leg,’” Hurst said. “He said if I keep working at it, I would go places. I’ve been taking his advice, and I’ve gotten some interest from some big schools. Hopefully I can get to the next level.”

Hurst also plays running back and middle linebacker for the Tigers, and is heavily involved with Havard in both roles, he said.

“B.J. is my good buddy,” Hurst said. “He’s our left tackle, so I’m always running behind him. When I’m at middle linebacker, he’s at nose guard, so we’re locking down the middle.

“I’m very blessed to have him around. He’s hard working, and loves to play football.”

Havard said he and Hurst lean on each other when they’re on the field.

“When we’re running right, and he doesn’t have a lane, he always cuts behind me, and I build him a lane, and he’ll get yards,” Havard said.

“At nose guard, he’ll tell me left or right, and he’ll cover one way and I’ll cover the other. We’ve been playing together since eighth grade, and we just built that (camaraderie) over time.”

Hurst credited God, his parents and his uncle with helping him maintain success as a player.

“The Good Lord’s blessed me very much,” Hurst said. “My parents have helped put me along and paid for the camps, and Uncle Bill has always believed in me and has kept pushing me and pushing me and pushing me.”

And King said he’s definitely taken notice of Hurst’s skills as a punter, even as an opposing coach.

“Cliff Hurst might be the best punter in the state,” King said.