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Thornton enjoys two sports

Hunter Thornton was a senior cornerback for the Vidalia High School football team last fall. Thornton also enjoys playing volleyball recreationally. (Eric J. Shelton \ The Natchez Democrat)

VIDALIA — Hunter Thornton likes two sports, one he can play at school, and the other he can play only recreationally.

The Vidalia High School senior played cornerback for the Vikings last fall, and said he enjoyed his football career at the school. But Thornton said he would have played an additional sport for the Vikings, were that sport available.

“I’ve always wanted to play volleyball (for a team),” Thornton said. “I’ve done a lot of it on the side for fun, and if I had the option to join a team, I would have.”

Thornton began playing volleyball in P.E. at Ridgecrest Elementary while he attended school there, Thornton said. His family recently got a volleyball net at their house, Thornton said, which they use to play quite regularly.

“I play every day if I can,” Thornton said. “It’ll be me and my family, as well as my friends if they want. Whoever comes, we’ll play.”

When it comes to football, Thornton said the contact and the physical activity are what he enjoyed the most.

“I love contact. Also, the fact that it’s a team game was good. It also like that it keeps my active,” Thornton said.

“There’s a lot of running and exercises, like route running, that kept me in shape. It didn’t allow me to sit around the house all the time, because I know if I didn’t play a sport, that’s what I’d be doing.”

Thornton played split end his first three years for Vidalia before moving to cornerback his senior year.

“I wanted to play much longer than three years, but there weren’t any sports available at Ridgecrest,” Thornton said.

“I enjoyed cornerback more than split end, because I got to tackle and wasn’t as much pressure. I didn’t have to catch the ball every time as long as I kept the other guy from catching it.”

With no sport to keep him active in the spring, Thornton said his upcoming military service has inspired him to stay fit.

“I’m getting ready to go into the Army,” he said. “I have delayed entry, so right now I’m just doing things like pushups and sit-ups, and running at the river front.”

Military service is something that runs in his family, Thornton said. Thornton’s father was an infantryman and his grandfather was a demolitions expert in Vietnam.

With a 3.56 GPA and scored a 22 on the ACT Thornton recently earned a scholarship from the Miss-Lou Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. Thornton said the military background of his family contributed heavily to their pushing him to excel in the classroom, but his father and grandfather weren’t the only ones that stressed good grades.

“My grandmother would stay on top of me and my sister when I was young and made sure we studied,” Thornton said. “I think a lot of my desire to do well in school has to do with her helping me all the time.

“My dad also stayed on top of me about grades. When I got to high school is when I really started to buckle down, because that’s when colleges and jobs start checking.”

Thornton said there were a lot of late nights trying to balance studying and football.

“For me, it was stay up late and get it done or suffer the consequences,” he said. “I guess staying focused on it, I didn’t think about it too much. I just focused on getting it done, because I knew I had to.”

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