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franklin county times

Heidelberg Academy's Sims leads the defense

By By Jeff Byrd / sports editor
Jan. 9, 2003
When it comes to defense, no team had a better year than the Heidelberg Academy Rebels. Heidelberg won its fifth state chammpionship because of a rock-solid defense that posted nine shutouts in route to a 13-1 record and the Academy A Championship. The Rebels of head coach Tom Lewis capped its season with a 27-0 blanking of Prentiss Christian.
Paving the way for the Rebels was defensive tackle Brannon Sims. The 6-foot-4, 228-pound senior was the leader of Heidelberg's defense and is the most highly recruited player getting looks from Southern Mississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.
Because of his team's outstanding defensive run to the title, Sims has been selected as The Meridian Star's Defensive Player of the Year.
Sims credited teamwork for his and the Rebels success.
Leading teams to state titles was also a big factor in linebackers Steve Gandy of Wayne County and Southern Choctaw's Chris Pugh being pegged as first team linebackers.
Gandy, a junior, helped the War Eagles to the Mississippi 5A State title.
Pugh paced Southern Choctaw to the Alabama 2A Championship. The Indians were a perfect 14-0 this year and capped it with a 12-6 victory over Lineville at Legion Field in Birmingham. Pugh averaged nearly double figures in tackles in every contest and was nominated for the Alabama Sportswriter's 2A Player of the Year award.
Another highly thought of player from Alabama is tackle Brian Anderson of Patrician Academy. Anderson (6-5, 290) has committed to play football next fall at Mississippi State. Last year, he was named the Alabama Independant School Association's Linemen of the Year.
Ironically, there are two Michael Johnson's on the first-team All-Area defense.
Newton County's Michael Johnson (5-10, 230) was one of the big reasons the Cougars won 13 straight games to advance to the 3A semifinals. The Cougars played brillant defense allowing just 38 points until the final game with Collins.
Heidelberg's Michael Johnson keyed the Oilers to a turnaround season in 2002. Johnson led the Oilers to a 10-3 record which included two playoff wins. Johnson heads up the first-team secondary.
Newton's Lederrian Blaylock was voted as Region 5-2A's most valuable player. He was Newton's leader at quarterback but also was dangerous in the secondary. He joins Heidelberg's Michael Johnson at safety.
The corners are Quinn Moffitte of Clarkdale and Kevin Moore of Meridian.
Moffitte was Clarkdale's big play guy. He returned a kickoff back 90 yards in Clarkdale's first-ever playoff game and helped lead the team to its first winning season in 20 years. Clarkdale finished 7-4 and won its first-ever region/division title.
Stanley says Moore was his team's top player this year.
Another Meridian Wildcat on the first team is defensive end Lamarace Tucker. Tucker could land a Division I scholarship as a safety if he can make his test scores this spring.
The last two linebacker spots on the first team go to Newton County's Derek Mapp and Lamar's Monroe Mayfield. Mapp was one of the leading tacklers on the Cougars' 13-1 team.
Mayfield helped lead Lamar to an Academy AAA Division II title. He was later named the Most Valuable Defensive Player for the South All-Stars at the MPSA All-Star game.
The final member of the first-team is return specialist Tyler Threadgill. The Philadelphia product has been timed in 4.4 seconds and led the Tornadoes at quarterback. He has committed to play next year at Mississippi State fulfilling the legacy of his dad, former State quarterback Bruce Threadgill.
The second team is head by Enterprise linemen Bobby Moreland who was named to the All-State 2A team. Robert Sanders of Heidelberg and Marcus Betts of Northeast Lauderdale are the ends.
Linebackers include Doug Ryan of Heidelberg, Terrance Patrick of Newton County, David Fielder of Newton County and Alvin Moffite of Clarkdale.
The second team secondary features Blake Bass of Heidelberg Academy, Drew Moffett of Lamar, Anselm Henry of Choctaw Central and Dietric Causey of Southern Choctaw.