Players of the Pine Belt: West Marion's Cyrus Thompson

Players of the Pine Belt: West Marion's Cyrus Thompson

FOXWORTH, MS (WDAM) - "We have the mentality, we try to have the mentality, of next man up kind of thing," said West Marion head coach Brad Duncan. "It's our turn. Those guys that have already done it, they've done theirs, they're in the past. So it's definitely, at this point, it's next guy up for us."

The next guy up for West Marion football is Cyrus Thompson.

The only returning senior with starting experience, it's now Thompson's turn to lead the Trojans.

"I really didn't have to do too much leading [last year] because the people before me - I just sit back and watch," Thompson said. "I've been starting for three years now. [We] had all-state players and I could just kind of sit back and let them [lead]. But now it's my turn to step up and lead the team."

"And I told him the other day, our key besides our offensive line is going to be Cyrus because you're the one with the experience," Duncan said. "You're the one that's been playing the games. You're going to have to be a leader for us and show these young kids the way to do things."

Thompson will captain both the West Marion offense and defense in 2017. He recorded 58 tackles and 54 interception return yards at safety last season while also snagging 33 receptions for 554 yards at wide receiver.

"I like receiver more." Thompson said. "I'm new to it. Last year was my first time and I kind of liked it. I'm kind of versatile, I do everything. Whatever I can do to help the team win, that's what I do."

Thompson hopes to help sophomore quarterback Jeremiah Holmes transition into the starting role as West Marion replaces the quarterback position for the third straight season.

Thompson's stature of 5-foot-9 doesn't deter him from making catches, much like his favorite NFL player Steve Smith of the same height.

"I know he's an ole time player," Thompson said. "I've watched some of his highlights. I like his aggression, what he brings to the game. He's a feisty player. I like to be like that."

"They're in the 5-foot-9 range, I mean that's the kids that we [have]," Duncan said. "We don't have those rangy 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3 kids. We just don't have those here. Our guys see those guys on television and they use those guys as an example. Why not me? Why not me?"

And why not 2017 be the year West Marion finally takes home a state title? That's what Thompson and the Trojans have asked themselves during every bench press, film study and 7-on-7 scrimmage this summer.

"I'm just trying to go out with a bang," Thompson said. "I've been to south state two of the last four years I've been here. I'm really trying to get past that hump because that's a big hump for us. We're trying to do stuff different here so we can get to state."