The spotlight for the entire 2011 season may be on Aberdeen’s standout defensive tackle Channing Ward, but Booneville nose guard Casey Farris stole the spotlight, momentarily, from Ward in Week 2.
Against Baldwyn, the Boone-ville senior recorded five sacks, blocked two punts and recovered a fumble in his fifth-ranked team’s 14-6 victory at home.
Perhaps the only other defensive performance in Northeast Mississippi this past weekend to rival Farris’ was Thrasher junior linebacker Logan Dodds’ 27 tackles (three of those for a loss), three forced fumbles and a sack in a 57-16 victory over New Site.
“That’s the best he’s ever played as a Blue Devil,” said Farris’ head coach, Mike Mattox. “We attribute that to hard work in the weight room. He really worked hard in the offseason.”
Ward, without a doubt, is the cream of the crop when it comes to defensive players. The senior stands 6-4 and weighs 258 pounds. He’s not only blessed with tremendous power and strength, but with speed to burn; he can run a 4.4 in the 40-yard dash.
And the plays Ward makes in games – blowing past offensive linemen, practically being untouched, and drilling the quarterback for a loss of nine yards, like he did against Shannon, the Journal’s fifth-ranked large school, on Friday night – it is no wonder why he’s one of the top recruits in the country.
While Farris may not be blessed with the athleticism of Ward, he had a Ward-like dominating performance Friday.
‘He can play’
“He started out as an undersized kid,” Mattox said of his D-lineman after Thursday’s game. “He’s just added muscle and added muscle, and now he’s big enough that he can play in there.
“He did an outstanding job tonight.” Said Baldwyn coach Michael Gray: “Just a little itty-bitty dude. I don’t think we always had an answer for him all night.” Being on the defensive line is no picnic. It’s not like being a safety who rarely gets blocked and can get a running start on a play. “We just have to work hard, man,”
Ward said, asked what makes for a good defensive lineman.
“And just make big plays. Big players have to make big plays.”
Added Ward, “The first step and toughness. It’s who wants it more, to tell you the truth.”
John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal