By Brandon Speck
After a hearty March meal for the Baldwyn basketball team at the Flowood Mugshots, Baldwyn freshman Armontie Price took a brief nap, head down beside his plate.
That’s not good for Baldwyn football opponents. It was just a little more energy Price, now a sophomore linebacker, was able to conserve. Come fall, it will come bursting from the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder.
Price is a ball hawk – see ball, get ball, or at least, see ball, tackle guy with ball. He led the Bearcats with 152 tackles last season as a freshman.
“It’s just reps. He’s got a lot of those intangibles you can’t coach, like finding the football,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said, “quick, speed. He had that going for him at the get-go.”
Price averaged 10.1 per game with eight tackles for loss. He had team-highs of 4.5 sacks and five hurries.
“I see the ball, I just go attack,” he said from May’s Tupelo Combine.
There was some see-ball, get-ball, too. Price had two interceptions, three pass deflections and three fumble recoveries. Both interceptions came in the last six games of the season, one in the North final against Calhoun City.
Cloudy or clear
“I learned how to read my keys,” Price said, “cloudy, clear, we practice that a lot. I learned how to cross-key pretty good at the end of the season.”
Cloudy or clear is a linebacker drill, learning which gap to hit when, who to key on. Price says his style is about wrapping up a ball carrier to make sure he gets to the ground. From an outside view, it looks like it’s also about making sure said ball carrier knows who hit him. Price has already developed a hard-hitting reputation.
He’ll also be listed as one of four Baldwyn wide receivers this season.
“We’ll see how that goes,” Gray said. “He’ll have a chance to be a threat out there, too. He’s worked there all spring and all summer. He’ll have his opportunities.”
Ozzie Price, Armontie’s junior brother, had 102 tackles last season and eight tackles for loss, all while learning a hybrid position between linebacker and safety. Baldwyn defensive coordinator Neal Allen said Armontie is working toward the same position.
“He’s got a lot of natural ability,” Allen said. “And he took coaching to heart, where his eyes need to be pre-snap and how to fit the right gap.”