Players of the Pine Belt - Petal senior Kobe Windham

Players of the Pine Belt - Petal senior Kobe Windham
Kobe's duties expand in 2018 as he's expected to play both safety and outside backer.; (Photo source: WDAM)
Kobe's duties expand in 2018 as he's expected to play both safety and outside backer.; (Photo source: WDAM)

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - By his own count, Kobe Windham has called lived in eight locations as one of two sons of military parents.

But these days, Windham has found a home in the thick of the defense at Petal High School.

The 5-9, 170-pound senior, selected as the Panthers' "Player of the Pine Belt," will be heading into his second season as a starting safety for Petal, a versatile player more than capable of coming up in run support or staying with receivers.

"He's good at both," Petal coach Marcus Boyles said. "He's just a really smart football player, a great tackler, a guy who brings a lot of energy to our team in practice and games.

"He was definitely one of our better defensive players last year."

Indeed. Windham finished second on the team with 97 tackles (73 solos), led the team with nine passes broken up and tied for the team lead in interceptions (two) and fumble recoveries (two).

"That's probably the main thing I do best, the tackling," Windham said. "This (spring), they had moved me some to outside 'backer, so I'll playing linebacker and safety.

"They like me (against) the run. They like me out in space."

Petal is coming off an 8-5 season that saw them advance to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.

Windham said the Panthers are focused on making an even deeper run in the postseason.

"Actually, we have a real good team with a lot of athletes," Windham said. "We're not as big as we were last year, but defensive-wise, we've got the majority of our starters back, so we'll be really experienced. On offense, we have a lot of our receivers back, but otherwise we're going to have a lot of guys without much experience who are going to have to step up this year.

"But, still, our goal is to win our (region) and then win state."

Boyles said the key for the Panthers will be avoiding injury.

"Like every year with us, we've got to stay healthy," Boyles said. "At certain positions, we've got a good returning group with the guys we've got coming back. We're looking forward to seeing whet these new guys can bring who are going to be first-year starters.

We've had a good spring and great summer with those guys, so we're looking forward to seeing how they develop in the fall. It's one thing to do it in practice or in seven-on-sevens, but it's another thing to do it on Friday nights when the lights are on."

Windham said he plans to continue developing and, hopefully, attract the attention of coaches at the next level.

"I'm just continuing to work on my skills," Windham said. "Because of my size, I don't get as many looks as some other guys, but I'm going to continue to work and get better and do what I can..

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