Skipper, Christmas are our best on and off field

Published 7:55 am Thursday, August 9, 2018

The 2018 high school football season is only a week away. Less if you count the preseason jamborees scheduled for this Friday night.

Next week, another annual harbinger of football and fall will arrive — the 2018 edition of “Playmakers,” The Vicksburg Post’s annual preview magazine. It will be bundled with the print edition of the newspaper on Wednesday, and we’ll have some extra copies for sale at the office if you miss it.

This year’s edition includes the usual slate of player features, team previews and miscellaneous information. Two players in particular stood out.

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The first is our cover story, on Porter’s Chapel Academy lineman McKinley Skipper. The 18-year-old senior is also a volunteer firefighter with the Warren County Fire Department. He’s been working with them for about three years now, and plans to become either a professional fireman or police officer after graduation next year.

The other is De’Arius Christmas, the former Warren Central linebacker who has become one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s best players at Grambling. Christmas, like Skipper, is on track to graduate next May and has big plans. He will get a degree in Engineering Technology and has an internship lined up.

Both Skipper and Christmas are excellent football players, but what makes them truly remarkable is their dedication to their community.

Skipper was inspired to help people in a very tangible sense. When strangers are in danger, he wants to be the man on the scene to help.

Christmas has been in the spotlight for several years thanks to his football prowess, and embraces his status as a role model. Although he prefers to keep a low profile, Christmas’ goal is to set an example for those around him that hard work and doing things the right way pays off.

It’s unclear how much football either man has left in them. Skipper is a marginal college prospect, and at 5-foot-10 and 220 pounds Christmas will have a hard time cracking an NFL roster. Whatever happens, both men are ones Vicksburg can be proud of. They’ve done things to set themselves up for success and have a plan for their lives. There’s little doubt they’ll eventually be leaders in our community.

So, next week, as we’re celebrating the start of another football season, take a few minutes to pick up a copy of The Vicksburg Post and Playmakers, and read their stories — and all the others. It’s well worth the time.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

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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