Players of the Pine Belt: Laurel senior defensive end Terrion McCullum

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 11:23 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Miss. (WDAM) - It was a tough start to the year for Laurel High School when a January fire left its fieldhouse heavily damaged.

But the Golden Tornadoes football team was resilient throughout the summer, with seniors like Terrion McCullum leading the way.

“Coach [Ryan Earnest] is going to push us so we don’t have a choice,” McCullum said. “If we mess up, you gotta do your thing. You gotta run it back, do it all over. Ain’t no getting away with nothing, gotta have everything on point.”

While there’s a new crop of Golden Tornadoes in Laurel, it’s the same old hard work being put in. McCullum has been a catalyst at defensive end, even if he’s built more like a wide receiver.

“I’m skinny so all I gotta do is be fast and get around people and I can get the tackle,” McCullum said.

“He’s one of those high motor kids,” said Laurel head coach Ryan Earnest. “He’s not one of the biggest but he’s definitely one of the fastest. Just a really good kid on and off the field, Superintendent scholar last year for the entire year. A kid that we’re very fortunate to have on our football team.”

Earnest said Laurel not only has high-character guys but guys that can play.

McCullum lines up against one of the best offensive fronts in Class 5A, led by Dandy Dozen and Mississippi State commit Malik Ellis.

“Competitive, real competitive,” McCullum said. “Every day, going against them is making me better.”

“We’ve got one of the better offensive lines in the area we feel like,” Earnest said. “And I think one of the big reasons for that is the look that they get every day from guys like Terrion McCullum, Jaden McCree. They get a lot of good work each and every day.”

Iron sharpens iron as Laurel gets ready to play “Between the Bricks.”

The Tornadoes are highly motivated after a South State loss to Picayune last year.

“This a good team and everybody’s going to stick together no matter what,” McCullum said. “So I feel real honored just to be on the team.”

“When you have a group of kids that have played together for three and in some cases four years, I think that always bodes well for you because over the course of a high school football season they’re very few situations at this point in their career they haven’t been in,” Earnest said. “You know in this region every year there’s going to be one – and in some cases two – real good teams that are going to be left at home in the playoffs. So, you know you gotta take care of your business.”

Here’s a look at Laurel’s 2022 schedule:

  • 8/27 – vs. Meridian – 7:30 p.m.
  • 9/2 – at D’Iberville – 7:30 p.m.
  • 9/9 – vs. Mendenhall – 7:30 p.m.
  • 9/16 – at Petal – 7:30 p.m.
  • 9/23 – at Florence* – 7:30 p.m.
  • 9/30 – vs. Brookhaven* – 7:30 p.m.
  • 10/7 – at Natchez* – 7 p.m.
  • 10/14 – vs. South Jones* – 7 p.m.
  • 10/21 – vs. West Jones* – 7 p.m.
  • 10/28 – at Wayne County* – 7 p.m.
  • 11/5 – at Hattiesburg* – 7 p.m.

*Indicates Region 3-5A opponent

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