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Player of the Pine Belt: Taylorsville linebacker Kelby Jordan

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 12:38 AM CDT
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TAYLORSVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Jay Blackledge has been well prepped for this moment.

Taylorsville’s first-year head coach cut his teeth under championship coaches like Marcus Boyles, Todd Breland, Todd Mangum and Scott Pierson.

“If I could say one thing about all of ‘em, they’ve all done it the right way,” Blackledge said. “They kind of paved a pretty good road for me to travel on, to try to keep the car in between the lines.”

The long ride has taken Blackledge to a town with some of the richest athletic tradition in the state.

“We all knew that [Blackledge] was going to be a good coach,” said Taylorsville senior linebacker Kelby Jordan. “He’s a great guy. We’re really excited for what he has planned for us in the future.”

Jordan will be Blackledge’s right-hand man as the Tartars’ transition not only to a new coach, but to Class 1A football.

Jordan takes his ball-hawk skills from the secondary to linebacker this season, dabbling in wide receiver as well.

“It’s just exciting,” Jordan said. “We lost a lot of guys last year. Being the older guy in the group, especially at linebacker, is real exciting.”

“[Jordan is a] fantastic human being to be around daily,” Blackledge said. “He makes our coaches better, he makes our players better. He’s not this kid that’s going to wow you with a 4.4 [second] 40 [yard dash] but he’s a baller, he’s a gamer. He loves to be in this building and I’m thankful we got him.”

The paint is still dry on those championship banners hanging around Taylorsville.

Guys like Jordan who have witnessed three state titles in four years have no plans of abandoning that feeling just yet.

“Doesn’t matter if it’s football, baseball, softball, basketball - these kids and this community know how to win and they’ve been winning for a long time,” Blackledge said. “That is just how they’ve been raised and that gets to us on Friday nights and it gets to us daily in our work ethic. We’re truly blessed with a winning community and a ton of support.”

Taylorsville opens its season on August 27 at Magee.

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