HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Longtime sports writer and executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Rick Cleveland decided to play a game with the MHSAA’s six “Mr. Football” winners of 2019.
Cleveland read the resumés of five legendary football players from the state of Mississippi and allowed the student-athletes to guess who he was describing.
McKinnley Jackson dominated the game, nailing all five without much hesitation – even if he accidentally called Steve McNair “Vince McNair.”
Domination is what Jackson grew accustomed to during his senior season at George County. The often double-teamed defensive tackle tallied 61 tackles for the Rebels in 2019, 37 of those for loss and ten quarterback sacks.
The defensive force well-deserving of his nomination as class 6A’s “Mr. Football.”
“I love what the game has taught me,” Jackson said. “Throughout life, there’s been some downfalls and some upbringings. But the game has really matured me as a man, as an individual in the community and as a player too.”
Joining Jackson at Monday’s “Mr. Football” award ceremony was Lumberton junior Robert Henry.
A natural running back, Henry took over passing duties in 2019 and adapted fairly well – completing 50 throws for 1,039 yards and 13 touchdowns. He added for 1,839 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns to help lead the Panthers (12-3) back to the class 1A state championship for the first time since 2016.
“It’s unbelievable,” Henry said. “I never thought I’d get here. Hard work paid off and I’m here.”
Ty Keyes is forced to make more room in his trophy case, taking home his second straight “Mr. Football” award to Taylorsville.
The junior quarterback of the Tartars passed for 3,597 yards and 41 touchdowns this season, coupled with 350 yards rushing and another three scores.
Keyes leads Taylorsville (14-1) to its third straight class 2A state title game.
“It means so much to me,” Keyes said. “I got it back to back and that’s a blessing. Without God, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Rounding out the representatives from south Mississippi was Columbia High running back Kentrel Bullock.
The senior carried the ball 206 times for 1,966 yards and 30 touchdowns, averaging 9.5 yards per carry.
The Wildcats fell to Jefferson Davis in the class 3A South State title, finishing the year 13-1.
“Everybody got their chance, everybody worked hard for the opportunity,” Bullock said. “And coming from where they’re from, I bet they have reasons to do what they did and help their team do what they did. I just think it’s a great honor for all of us.”
Itawamba AHS running back Ike Chandler represented class 4A. The senior rushed for 2,537 yards and 29 touchdowns on 250 carries this season.
Randy Anderson was awarded the class 5A trophy. The Lafayette senior rushed for 1,690 yards and 20 touchdowns while passing for 501 yards and six touchdowns.