Players of the Pine Belt: Mount Olive junior RB/LB Malichi Mickel
MOUNT OLIVE, Miss. (WDAM) - Mount Olive dressed out 34 players in the spring – the most in Dante Durr’s seven seasons as head coach.
The Pirates are young but many have been starting since their freshman year.
“They actually bought into what I was trying to teach them when I first got here and they became freshmen,” Durr said. “They’re almost like another coach on the field because they know what I expect and they know what I run and how we run it.”
“Coming in we have a young team,” said Mount Olive junior Malichi Mickel. “Been working hard all summer, just apply it on the field.”
Even with the increased numbers, the class 1A Pirates rely on guys to play both sides of the ball.
Mickel could see the most snaps on the team.
He led Mount Olive in tackles the last two seasons at middle linebacker. He’s expected to be a workhorse at running back.
“It’s tough but you gotta fight through it,” Mickel said. “I just like running the ball, running over people, out-running people.”
“I told him before the season, during the spring, you might as well get ready to run the ball 30 times a game,” Durr said. “And I think he’s built for it. He’s put on about 20 pounds of muscle so he’s about 210 now, play middle linebacker, go both ways. Like I always say, 1A football you gotta be able to play both ways.”
Durr’s got some tough kids up in Mount Olive and they’re ready to start seeing the fruits of their labor.
Despite a 6-4 record last season, the Pirates missed out on the playoffs – navigating Region 4-1A which boasts the last three state champions (Lumberton, Taylorsville, Bay Springs).
“We haven’t been in the playoffs in ten years,” Mickel said. “I just want to make it to the playoffs. We have some tough teams but we gotta work.”
“I call it the black and blue division or the SEC of the South because we in a dogfight each and every night,” Durr said. “Unfortunate for us, we have all three of the top back to back to back. We’ll know early how we match up against every one.”
Here’s a look at Mount Olive’s 2022 schedule:
- 8/26 - vs. North Forrest - 7:30 p.m.
- 9/2 - vs. Mize - 7:30 p.m.
- 9/9 - at Collins - 7:30 p.m.
- 9/16 - OPEN
- 9/23 - vs. Salem* - 7:30 p.m.
- 9/30 - at Taylorsville* - 7:30 p.m.
- 10/7 - vs. Lumberton* - 7 p.m.
- 10/14 - at Bay Springs* - 7 p.m.
- 10/21 - vs. Resurrection* - 7 p.m.
- 10/28 - at Richton* - 7 p.m.
- 11/4 - at Enterprise-Lincoln* - 7 p.m.
*Indicates Region 4-1A opponent
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