Player of the Pine Belt: Oak Grove left tackle Klabron Pollard
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - While quarterback Kabe Barnett and the skill players around him got a lot of the shine during Oak Grove’s 2020 state championship run, the big boys up front put in the grind.
“Every single time one of the running backs or even when Kabe breaks a hole, scores a touchdown or it’s a big gain, it makes us know that we’re appreciated and what we’re doing is actually working,” said Oak Grove senior left tackle Klabron Pollard. “That our hard work is paying off.”
It paid off 13 times last season as the Warriors completed an unbeaten season with the class 6A state title.
Pollard knows his role just became a little bigger, returning as one of Oak Grove’s more experienced offensive lineman.
“My mom’s a teacher so I’ve always known that once I get to a certain point in my life, I’m going to have to teach other guys what to do,” Pollard said. “Being a senior and being a three-year starter, I just know I got to teach all these guys so even after I leave, they’ll be successful.”
“He’s really got to be a good leader for us up front and make sure the rest of the guys know what we expect, know how to play and carry that same intensity that we had last year with the O-line,” said Oak Grove head coach Drew Causey. “So, that’s going to be huge for us.”
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound senior will pace the Warriors up front, who relied on a strong offensive line during their state title run.
But even off the field, Pollard possesses a certain poise needed for a team that will get everyone’s best shot this season.
“We pretty much completed all our goals,” Pollard said. “Now going into this year we’ve been to three straight state championships, people want to see us lose. That just means we’re going to have to work a lot harder this year than we ever had before.”
“I think as a competitor, every time you step on the field you should want to win,” Causey said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing, you should want to play your best. That’s one thing I think for our coaches, we’ve not changed the way we coach. As long as they accept that challenge and they want to be their best they can every time they step on the field and every play, then I think the rest of it takes care of itself.”
Oak Grove opens its season on September 3 vs. Wayne County.
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