HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Folks around the Pine Belt have witnessed Robert Henry tear through defenses for years, but Zach Jones has been watching since its inception.
In fact, the head coach of Lumberton remembers the exact game he knew Henry was going to be a special football player.
“Wow,” Jones remembers thinking. “You knew at an early age that he was gonna be really good. We played [Jefferson Davis County] when they were still Bassfield, [Henry] then as an eighth-grader. And I think he carried the ball about 30 times that night and we beat 'em 24-16. As a coach you’re sitting there going, ‘Yeah I’m glad this young man’s in our program and he’s coming up.’”
For the past four years, Henry’s been Lumberton’s heavy-lifter – playing just about every position on the field but excelling in the backfield.
The senior’s rushed for 1,161 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, averaging 14 yards per carry.
“Unselfish, he’ll do whatever you ask him to do,” Jones said. “Quarterback, tailback, receiver – whatever he thinks is best to help the team, he’s willing to do that.”
“It also helps the team so wherever coach is going to put me, I’m going to play,” Henry said."
Henry hopes to keep playing after high school. He holds a scholarship offer from just about every junior college program in the state. But, he’s not ready to give up those Friday nights just yet – the kind of nights he rushes for 221 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Panthers to another win.
“I don’t want it to be over,” Henry said. “It’s my last year so I’m kinda getting the best of it, working hard so when I get to that next level I’ll be ready.”
“I’ll say this, I think he’s the most under-recruited player in the state,” Jones said. “No knocking anybody else, but there’s nobody in the state I’d rather have on our football team than Robert. I think who’s ever program he winds up in is going to be glad he’s there as a football player but glad he’s there as a person as well.”