St. Al’s Dodgen, WC’s Selvy lead charge for all-state teams

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 13, 2002

Vicksburg High, Warren Central and St. Aloysius capped a great year for Warren County football Thursday by combining to put nine players on the Mississippi Association of Coaches’ All-State teams.

WC senior guard Deonta Selvy was selected to the Class 5A first team, while St. Al kicker Cass Dodgen was picked for the Class 1A first team.

“I wasn’t expecting to make an all-star team,” said Selvy, who is being recruited by Mississippi Valley State and Southern Miss. “When the coaches came and told me I made it, I didn’t believe them at first.”

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Offensive lineman Delvechio Ellis and defensive lineman Johnny Daniel of Vicksburg were selected to the Class 5A second team, as were defensive end Kelvin Martin and linebacker Andrew Patten of Warren Central.

St. Al linebacker Walker Hengst, defensive end Adam Beaugh, and cornerback Michael Engle were selected to the Class 1A second team.

“It says a lot about the quality of football here. I’m just hoping we can continue that,” VHS coach Alonzo Stevens said of the number of all-state selections from Warren County.

Although Stevens was happy with having two selections on the all-state team, he felt the Gators should have had a few more.

Fullback Phelan Gray ran for more than 1,200 yards; quarterback Justin Henry had 1,653 yards, 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions in 193 attempts; and defensive back D’Eldrick Taylor had 121 tackles, five interceptions, and 20 tackles for loss. All were slighted by being left off the all-state team, Stevens said.

“Delvechio is worthy, Johnny is worthy, but at the same time I’ve seen all the backs … and Phelan can match up with any of them,” Stevens said.

Selvy was a starter for WC each of the last three seasons, but suffered knee injuries in his sophomore and junior years. After playing in only three games in 2001, he had season-ending surgery.

He came back this year determined to get back on the field, and started all 13 games for the Vikings. Thanks, in part, to his blocking, WC ran for 2,455 yards and had its first 1,000-yard rusher in eight years.

“We knew if he ever made it through a whole season he was going to be a good player,” WC coach Robert Morgan said. “For a big man, he has good speed … He’s good enough to be a Division I player one day.”

Dodgen also overcame an injury to help the Flashes reach the playoffs for the first time in six years. He suffered a high ankle sprain against Mize that kept him from kicking in two games, but still converted 38 of 40 extra-point attempts.

He was also 1-for-2 on field goals, making a 27-yarder and missing a 47-yarder wide left, and his deep, booming kickoffs produced cheers from the St. Al fans as well as good field position for the Flashes.

“I waited a while before I tried to kick, and then I had so much tape on it I couldn’t kick. It wasn’t really painful, I just couldn’t kick with the amount of tape that was there,” Dodgen said of the injury.

Dodgen also had 61 tackles as a defensive lineman, but his real passion is kicking, he said. Southern Miss has showed some interest in him, but he said he wasn’t sure if he’d get a chance to continue his football career at the college level.

“I think my odds of playing are small,” Dodgen said.

“People tell me I have good odds, but I don’t know. I hope they’re good.”