Vikings put two on 6A All-State team

Published 10:19 am Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Warren Central’s run to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs paid off with All-State honors for a couple of its best players.

Offensive lineman Tra Winters was picked to the Class 6A All-State second team offense, and versatile cornerback Demarcus Jones was a second-team pick on the defensive team.

The team is picked by the state’s coaches.

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Winters, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound senior guard, was part of a talented offensive line that allowed the Vikings to have three 1,000-yard rushers. The Vikings averaged 384.5 yards of offense and 267.6 rushing yards per game while finishing 10-3 and reaching the second round of the Class 6A playoffs, where they lost to eventual state champion Clinton in overtime.

Tra Winters

Tra Winters

Jones was a big part of that success as well. The senior rushed for 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns, and caught 19 passes for 303 yards and four more scores while playing running back. He also started at cornerback — he played nearly every down in several games — and was second on the team with three interceptions.

Jones also had 26 tackles, blocked a punt on special teams and returned kicks. He was selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell Mississippi All-Star Game, but earlier this week got a promotion to the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game when another player dropped out.

The Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game is Saturday in Montgomery, Ala.

Although Warren Central only had two players on the All-State team, its league was well-represented. Twenty-five of the 60 players on the All-State team came from Region 2-6A.

Among the notables were Madison Central’s Jack Walker and Braden Boykin at quarterback and wide receiver, respectively; and Clinton wide receiver Reginald Landing, running back Darius Maberry, linebacker Jacobi Hearn and safety Kamron White.

Clinton quarterback Cam Akers, who led the Arrows to a 14-1 record and their first state championship, was the All-State Offensive Player of the Year. The five-star recruit threw for 3,128 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for 2,105 yards and 34 touchdowns.

Akers had 445 yards of total offense and accounted for seven touchdowns in a 49-35 win over Pearl in the Class 6A championship game. He threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 217 yards and five TDs in that game.

Starkville linebacker Willie Gay was the All-State Defensive Player of the Year. The senior had 83 tackles and, late in the season, was used as a wildcat quarterback. In two games against Warren Central and Clinton he carried the ball 81 times for 565 yards and nine touchdowns.

John Perry, who led Pearl to its first state championship game appearance since 1985, was the All-State Coach of the Year.

Pearl started the season 2-3 — among its losses was one to Warren Central in August — but won nine consecutive games to reach the 6A championship game.

Anchored by one of the best defenses in the state, the Pirates finished 11-4 and won the Region 3-6A championship. Their defense allowed just 15.7 points per game.