Players of the Pine Belt: Columbia cornerback/running back Amarion Fortenberry

Published: Jul. 27, 2023 at 12:03 AM CDT
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Columbia, Miss. (WDAM) - Amarion Fortenberry was the only sophomore to start on Columbia’s 2021 state championship team.

He’d like to get back there in his final season.

“Practice like a championship team, play like one,” said Fortenberry, who will line up at cornerback and running back for the Wildcats. “Every practice is going to be like a championship mindset and we’re just going to bring it to the table every day.”

It’s the middle of July.

But the intensity with which Columbia practices one would think there was a playoff game on Friday.

Wildcats like Fortenberry know the path to a championship starts in the summer.

“It’s important because a lot of us are playing both sides so we’ve got to be in shape, got to be in great condition,” Fortenberry said. “And we are a physical team so whoever want it, we got it.”

“To have 90 percent attendance throughout the summer, there’s a buy-in there,” said Columbia head coach Chip Bilderback. “Their goal is they want to win a championship. They want to win a district championship and to do that it’s got to take a lot. And they understand every time we come out on the field we get to come out here and compete. And our kids just love football.”

Fortenberry can’t get enough of it.

He’s committed to South Alabama as a cornerback but before college football comes calling, Fortenberry has some unfinished business to attend to.

“He embodies what the Columbia Wildcats are all about, the way he works,” Bilderback said. “Columbia football’s really important to him and he holds everybody accountable in the sense that every day we gotta get a little bit better. I think that starts at home from his family.”

“The expectations always been high,” Fortenberry said. “We always have the goal to win state. And the expectations never drop. Ever since that feeling, it was a great feeling, and we would love to get back there.”

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