Player of the Week: Laurel running back Kiron Benjamin
LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - Laurel got off to a slow start this season but the Golden Tornadoes ramped up their performance in November, playing some of the best football in the Pine Belt before eventually falling to Picayune in the Class 5A South State title game.
Leading the charge was senior running back Kiron Benjamin.
“When I was kind of a younger player, I had people in front of me like Zias Perryman, Michael Terrell and also Xavier Evans,” Benjamin said. “It was only right that I meet the expectations that they left and become a better player.”
Benjamin bided his time for three years.
But when he was finally handed the reins of Laurel’s backfield this season, Benjamin went to work – rushing for 1,631 yards and 31 touchdowns on 198 carries.
“I’m just so proud of him because he’s waited his turn,” said Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest. “He’s never been a kid that’s complained, he’s embraced whatever role that we’ve given him over the last few years. To see him put up the type of numbers and have the type of success that he has had this year – it does your heart good as a coach to see a kid trust the process, wait his turn and then reap the benefits of that.”
“I want to thank the coaches and my offensive line,” Benjamin said. “They had faith in me the whole season and it was just my job to put the team on my back and do whatever I can.”
Benjamin’s emergence earned him a late invitation to the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star game, which will be played on Dec. 11 at Southern Mississippi’s M.M. Roberts Stadium.
It’s the last opportunity for Benjamin to strap on his Laurel helmet – one of many things he’ll miss about playing high school football.
“Playing in between the bricks,” Benjamin said. “It gets not better than playing in between the bricks. It’s live in there, it’s a hard place to play in and we love it.”
“You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a more well-rounded football player and a more complete running back than Kiron Benjamin,” Earnest said. “We’re definitely going to miss him.”
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