Players of the Pine Belt: Collins’ McLaurin set to lead Tigers for final time

Players of the Pine Belt: Collins' McLaurin set to lead Tigers for final time

COLLINS, Miss. (WDAM) - The past two seasons, Collins High School has won 24 football games with quarterback Hershey McLaurin supplying the offensive mojo, and Coach Eric Booth has some bad news for the Tigers’ opponents.

“I’m going to put a lot on him, see if he can’t help me out,” Booth said with a smile. “If I call a play, and he sees something, he can audible to something else. I’m going to put a lot on him this year because I know he can do it.”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound McLaurin, who enters his fourth season as Collins’ starting quarterback, said he welcomes the added responsibilities.

“I’ve got a big spot to fill now because I’ve got other kids looking up to me,” McLaurin said. “I’m a senior, so I’ve got to set a good example for my teammates.

“I’ve been playing since ninth grade and trying to win a championship for my team. This year, I’ve just got to finish it, and try and go out with a bang.”

As a sophomore in 2017, McLaurin helped Collins to a 13-2 record and a spot in the Class 2A South State championship game. In McLaurin’s junior season in 2018, the Tigers went 11-2 and reached the third round of the playoffs.

Both times, Collins fell to Taylorsville High School.

“Class 2A, it’s tough,” Booth said. “But we’re going to play with a lot of heart every year. We’re going to compete.

“We always have athletes here, and the kids, the kids believe in football. They love football. “

And, apparently, they adore their quarterback.

“They love him to death,” Booth said. “He’s a big, ol’ funny kid. He’s going to have fun, but when it’s time to get serious, the kids know, and they’ll bow up with him and do what they have to do.

“But we’re going to have fun.”

Indeed, said McLaurin.

“Me and him fuss like husband and wife, man,” McLaurin said of his relationship with Booth. “We just fuss some on the sideline, but it’s all right. We still love each other.”

Clearly.

Collins will open the 2019 season at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23, by traveling to Seminary High School.

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