All-County Football 2023: Warren Central’s Demby is The Post’s Defensive Player of the Year

Published 11:00 am Monday, December 25, 2023

A couple of years ago, the idea that Julien Demby would become one of the top defensive football players in Mississippi for Warren Central seemed far-fetched.

It wasn’t that he didn’t have some talent. It was just that he didn’t play defense. Or at Warren Central.

Demby transferred from Vicksburg High to Warren Central in 2021, and was converted from tight end to linebacker. He almost immediately went from “promising” to “dominant” at his new position, capped off by a tremendous senior season.

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Demby was named the top linebacker in MHSAA Region 2-6A, first-team All-Class 6A, and now the 2023 Vicksburg Post Defensive Player of the Year for Warren County.

“I feel like I earned it. I said before the year started I was going to prove to everybody why I was one of the best linebackers in the state. I did my job,” Demby said. “But we’re not done yet.”

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Demby took to his new position right away when he switched schools. He had 85 tackles and six sacks as a junior in 2022 and earned All-Region 3-6A honors.

“It’s definitely a gift. I can’t do nothing but thank God for it. I didn’t play linebacker at Vicksburg, so for me to come in and make a tremendous change like that, you can’t thank anybody but God for it,” Demby said. “Before I came over here, I’d never played outside linebacker. I had to get used to it, but it wasn’t hard. I feel like I’ve always liked defense because of my size and stuff. I like to hit.”

As a senior, Demby continued to take down runners while adding a playmaking element to his game. He led Warren Central with five interceptions this season. That went along with team-highs in tackles (117) and sacks (3). He was second in tackles for loss, with 28.

Demby returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown in a 24-21 win over Madison Central in September, and had another against Germantown that was negated by a penalty. He said catching passes and scoring touchdowns on defense is different than on offense, but still a great feeling.

“Coming from offense, it felt like kind of the same feeling. You just have to work hard for it on defense,” said Demby, who also had six pass defenses in addition to his interceptions. “Most of mine are tipped balls or cut off receivers. But taking it back for six is something else.”

Demby credited his talented defensive teammates with allowing him to flourish. Safety Garrett Orgas, who had 89 tackles and four interceptions, and defensive end Ronnie Blossom, who had 23 tackles for loss, both made the Class 6A All-State team.

Orgas joined Demby in representing Warren Central in the prestigious Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Game.

“Ronnie was running from one side of the field, hit somebody, run all the way to the other side and make a tackle. I had no worries,” Demby said. “Knowing if I’m not doing right, knowing I’ve got somebody who can pick up my slack makes me feel good. They’ve got my back and I’ve got their back.”

Having each other’s back helped Demby and the Vikings vault to the top of MHSAA Region 2-6A. The Vikings had a 9-3 overall record and went undefeated in the league to win the program’s first region championship since 2004.

The defense allowed an average of 14.3 points per game, held five opponents to seven points or less, and had a plus-10 turnover margin.

Demby said he was proud to be a leader on such a solid unit, and credited the success to plenty of hard work as well as raw talent.

“I feel like it’s just putting in the work behind closed doors. Nobody gets to see the countless hours of work. That’s one of the main reasons,” he said. “All of us are really good. I can’t say it’s one certain thing. I just feel like I played my role as a leader and did what I was needed to do. I made plays when I needed to. See ball, get ball.”

Vicksburg Post Defensive Players of the Year
2023 – Julien Demby, LB, Warren Central
2022 – Demarcus Johnson, DL, Vicksburg
2021 – Demarion Robinson, LB, Vicksburg
2020 – Taylen Smith, DL, Warren Central
2019 – Malik Sims, LB, Warren Central
2018 – Lamar Gray, DB, Warren Central
2017 – Nick Anderson, LB, Vicksburg
2016 – Nick Anderson, LB, Vicksburg
2015 – Jomon O’Neal, DL, Vicksburg
2014 – DeArius Christmas, LB, Warren Central
2013 – DeArius Christmas, LB, Warren Central
2012 – DeArius Christmas, LB, Warren Central and Derrick Thomas, LB, Warren Central
2011 – Devon Bell, P, Warren Central
2010 – Lee Douglas, LB, Central Hinds
2009 – Mitchell Hoskins, LB, Port Gibson
2008 – Carlos Williams, LB, Vicksburg
2007 – Carlos Williams, LB, Vicksburg
2006 – Dekores Branch, LB, Vicksburg
2005 – Willis McGowan, DB, Vicksburg
2004 – Chico Hunter, DB, Warren Central
2003 – Humphrey Barlow, LB, Porters Chapel
2002 – D’Eldrick Taylor, DB, Vicksburg
2001 – D’Eldrick Taylor, DB, Vicksburg
2000 – Thad Henderson, DT, Warren Central
1999 – Thad Henderson, DT, Warren Central
1998 – Jason Myers, LB, Vicksburg
1997 – Josh Morgan, DB, Warren Central
1996 – Ivan Martin, DL, Warren Central
1995 – Chris Rainey, LB, Vicksburg
1994 – Eric Payne, LB, Warren Central
1993 – Michael Myers, DL, Vicksburg
1992 – Michael Myers, DL, Vicksburg
1991 – Chris Henderson, LB, Vicksburg
1990 – Ronnie Taylor, LB, Vicksburg
1989 – Robert Winters, LB, Warren Central
1988 – Robert Winters, LB, Warren Central
1987 – Jack Muirhead, 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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