By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
At first glance Xzavier Rogers may appear to be a lightweight on the football field, but don’t let “Nupie’s” small frame fool you.
The actual weight that people need to pay attention to is the amount he is lifting in the weight room.
With a body weight of 125 pounds at last month’s MHSAA Class 3A North powerlifting meet, the 5-foot-3 Booneville High junior – nicknamed “Nupie” by his older sister for a reason he doesn’t know why – lifted the most pounds out of anyone in his weight class in all of the state’s classifications.
He squatted 350 pounds, benched 200 and deadlifted 430 to break his total weight lifted record at the North meet by 20 pounds and to earn himself “Super Twelve” status heading into Saturday’s state meet at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Joining him in Jackson will be teammates Casey Farris (181 pounds) and Zach Armstrong, the 220-pound North meet champion.
Rogers, however is the only one from Booneville – and one of six Northeast Mississippi athletes (see chart on this page) – to have lifted the most statewide in his weight class during March’s North and South meets.
“He’s a little bitty kid – kind of looks like a Pop Warner kid,” said Mike Mattox, Rogers’ head football and powerlifting coach. “But pound for pound he’s been the strongest kid I’ve ever been around.”
The 17 year old says most of his family members are short and he’s not sure if he’ll grow a couple of inches. Nonetheless, that still hasn’t kept him from feeling strong, especially during his freshman year when he first started lifting weights on a regular basis.
While Rogers has dominated the North meets – he’s set meet records in the deadlift (445 pounds) and total weight lifted (980) – he hasn’t been so fortunate at the state championships. The last two years he’s finished second at the state meet.
“Last year I watched him and the kid who beat him out go back and forth. They kept breaking records,” Mattox said.
“It was really fun to watch those two kids go at it. Rogers lifted 460 in the deadlift to set a state record, and then that kid would come back and break that record.”
Fortunately for Rogers, Robert Curry of Franklin County has since graduated.
So, the North meet record holder in the deadlift and total weight lifted has a pretty good shot of winning his first state title.
“I plan to break the squat record. I plan to do a good 410 or 415 pounds,” Rogers said of his goal to break MHSAA’s all-time mark in the 123-pound weight class.
“This year maybe I can break the deadlift one, too. If not, I will try to get that next year.”
And by watching Rogers run on the football field, it should come as no surprise that he would be successful at another sport.
“He may weigh 123 pounds,” said Mattox, “but you can’t weigh that heart.”
The smallest player on the field rushed for 831 yards and 13 touchdowns as he averaged 6.65 yards per carry this past season.
“He runs on the football field like he’s mad,” Mattox said. “Jimmy Mitchell, the Corinth (High) football coach, calls him the ‘Angry Elf.’”
For those closer to him, they simply refer to the ideal leader as “Nupie.”
“They don’t make ‘Nupies’ every day,” Mattox said.
Contact John Wilbert at 678-1572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.