Sports column: It’s time for Christmas cheer and All-County football

Published 4:00 am Sunday, December 17, 2023

T’was the week before Christmas, when all through the house;

Not a creature was stirring … except the poor sports editor trying to finish this year’s all-county football sections.

Yes, folks, it’s almost Christmas and that means it’s time to wrap up another high school football season with The Vicksburg Post All-County football editions.

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The process is fun and exciting, although I sometimes wonder whether I should wear a Santa hat or a Grinch mask while doing it. In any endeavor like this, there is plenty of give and take — or giving and taking, as recognizing someone with an all-county or Player of the Year selection often includes not recognizing another deserving candidate.

That’s true this season, especially. Our local teams won district championships and shattered records. They were among the best in the entire state.

Warren County had 13 all-state players, 12 state all-stars, three playoff teams, and a partridge in a pear tree. The partridge wasn’t very good, but he had spirit.

Much like a marathon day of Christmas shopping, picking the best of the best from that lot is certainly not an easy chore but is one that must be done.

So without further ado, the 2023 Vicksburg Post football Players of the Year are Warren Central linebacker Julien Demby and Porter’s Chapel Academy quarterback Wes Massey. The Coach of the Year is PCA’s Blake Purvis.

Demby, the Defensive Player of the Year, had a list of accolades longer than an 8-year-old’s Christmas list. He led the Vikings wth 117 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, three sacks and five interceptions. He was both an MHSAA Class 6A All-State selection and selected to play in the Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.

Massey led Porter’s Chapel to the MAIS Class 2A semifinals in a record-breaking season. He threw a Warren County record 40 touchdown passes, including a single-game record seven vs. Deer Creek, while piling up 1,866 yards for the season. A fourth of his pass attempts and 40 percent of his completions went for touchdowns.

Purvis turned PCA’s football fortunes around after a long climb to the top. The Eagles only won 13 games from 2016-20, but this was their third consecutive playoff appearance. They won their first district title and reached the semifinals for the first time since 2008.

The Vicksburg Post’s All-County football team will be honored in three editions Dec. 22-27. Purvis will be recognized on Friday, Dec. 22. Massey and the All-County offensive team will be in the weekend edition Dec. 23-24. Demby and the All-County defense will bring it all home on Wednesday, Dec. 27.

Congratulations to Demby, Massey and Purvis. They excelled not only in their respective leagues this season, but locally against some exceptional competition to emerge as the best.

The 30 other players who made The Vicksburg Post’s All-County team did as well. In a season like this one, where everyone enjoyed some measure of success, it’s an honor to be recognized.

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

Dec. 22: Coach of the Year – Blake Purvis, Porter’s Chapel
Dec. 23: Offense and Offensive Player of the Year – John Wyatt Massey, QB, Porter’s Chapel
Dec. 27: Defense and Defensive Player of the Year – Julien Demby, LB, Warren Central

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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