Three from WC, Vicksburg’s Anderson make All-State football teams

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Warren Central didn’t have a lot of superstars this season, but it did wind up with a few players on the Mississippi Association of Coaches All-State team.

Offensive lineman Braden Moody and running back Corey Wilson, Jr., were both selected first-team Class 6A All-State in voting by the state’s coaches. Defensive back Walt Hopson was a second-team selection.

Vicksburg High linebacker Nick Anderson made the Class 5A All-State list as a first-team selection on defense.

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It’s the second year in a row that a VHS player has been a first-team pick. Wide receiver Raheem Moore did it last year. Moody and Wilson are Warren Central’s first first-teamers since linebacker De’Arius Christmas and cornerback Chris Stamps in 2014, although the program had several second-team selections in 2015 and 2016.

Braden Moody

“All-State is voted on by the coaches, and any time you get that notification from the coaches you know it’s legit because they have to play against you and know what you can do,” Warren Central coach Josh Morgan said. “It’s a good nod to them and to the program.”

Moody, the Vikings’ right tackle, came back from a torn ACL suffered in the 2016 Class 6A playoffs to anchor a standout offensive line. Four backs rushed for more than 400 yards as the team averaged 214.2 yards and 5.8 yards per carry on the ground.

Moody was also selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game Dec. 16 in Hattiesburg.

“Dealing with an injury like he had, sometimes it makes you dig deeper than you normally would. I think that’s what happened with Braden,” Morgan said. “It made him miss it and want it, and his development from his junior to his senior year is impressive.”

Wilson, a junior, made the first-team All-State defensive squad as a return specialist. He did average 19.3 yards on 13 kickoff returns, but was a bigger conventional threat for the Vikings. He led the team with 941 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, and also caught 21 passes for 163 yards and two TDs.

“It’s a big deal to make it as an underclassman,” Morgan said. “Corey was our big-play guy on offense. We had to have him step up on offense to make us go, and he did that.”

Walt Hopson

Hopson also did a little of everything. He totaled 70 tackles and seven interceptions as a safety, and also returned punts and punted. He averaged 35.0 yards per punt, with 26 of his 59 kicks being downed inside the 20.

Hopson was selected to play in the Bernard Blackwell Mississippi All-Star Game this Saturday in Gulfport.

Anderson was passed over for both all-star games, but still has made a name for himself as one of the top defensive players in Class 5A. After winning The Vicksburg Post’s Defensive Player of the Year award as a junior in 2016, the linebacker was the heart of a Vicksburg defense that held each of its last seven opponents to 21 points or less and posted one shutout.

Anderson also had two interception returns for touchdowns. One provided the winning points in a 26-21 victory over Ridgeland on Oct. 13, and the other sealed a 29-21 win over Callaway two weeks later that put the Gators into the playoffs.

Nick Anderson

State champion Pearl dominated the Class 6A All-State list, with seven first-team selections and one more on the second team. Tylan Knight was the Co-Player of the Year and John Perry was the Coach of the Year.

Knight rushed for 254 yards and six touchdowns on offense, and scored the game-winner with a minute left in the state championship game against Starkville. Knight also played linebacker and totaled 106 tackles, five sacks and five takeaways.

Tupelo linebacker Jett Johnson was the other Co-Player of the Year. Johnson had 146 total tackles for the Region 1-6A champions, who went 11-0 in the regular season but lost to Warren Central in the first round of the playoffs.

Port Gibson center Donovan Hunt, running back Jacory Rankin and defensive lineman Johnn Banks all made the Class 3A first-team All-State list. Cornerback Myron Stewars was a second-team selection.

The quartet helped Port Gibson to the Class 3A quarterfinals and its first nine-win season since 1991. It was the first time the program had won a playoff game since 1990.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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