Photo/James Pugh

1. Byron Young

West Jones’ defense is just plain deadly with Byron Young at defensive end. The Soso boys celebrated a lot of wins last year on the count of its defense, and the Alabama commit had a whole lot to do with it. Don’t get me wrong, West Jones has other studs on defense, namely Jon-Micah Coleman and Damion Cunningham, but Young is just in a league of his own. Expect the defense to be even more of a factor this year.

2. Ty Keyes

As a freshman Ty Keyes took Class 2A by storm, putting up video game-like numbers. He led all quarterback’s in the state last year with 4,562 yards on 348 completions – an average of 19.7 yards per completion. After his freshman season, Keyes received SEC offers from Ole Miss and Mississippi State and an offer from Mississippi’s other D1 university Southern Miss. 

Back to help lead Taylorsville to possibly back-to-back titles, Keyes has to work with new receivers, as the core of his receivers graduated last year. But he did well with his first-time crew last season so what’s not to say he’ll do well with the new group this year?

3. Javier (Fafa) Magee 

The offense ran more fluidly last season with Fafa Magee behind center. His play at quarterback towards the tail end of the season gave Northeast Jones much needed momentum heading into the offseason. 

Though he started the 2017 season at another position, his play last season at the QB position and his progression in the offseason has given him the starting role this year. He may not be as big as most dynamic athletes in the area, but his play on the field is just as good. He’s a guy that can make this happen. 

4. Anthony Thomas

Anthony Thomas is arguably the fastest athlete in Jasper County. Last season, the Stringer running back collected 1,733 yards of total offense and 22 touchdowns, the majority of his yards (1,461) came on the ground. As a senior, he’ll give Stringer a chance to claim its second state title in a decade. He’s just that impactful of a player. 

Thomas is definitely on the radar of Bay Springs, who opens the season against Stringer on Thursday night in the Devil’s Den. 

5. Anson Windham

During the spring, Anson Windham’s presence on the field this fall was an unknown. An injury to hip area kept him out for the majority of Bay Springs’ spring practice. The fear was if surgery was required, the healing process would be long and might require him to sit out a significant position of his senior year. Luckily for him and the Bulldogs, the doctors released him to practice towards the tail end of the spring. 

Bay Springs prides itself in the Wing-T offense and Windham is a big part of it. As a junior, Windham rushed for a team-high 1,500 yards on 209 carries, averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Both he and Jamarious Hosey (who tallied 1,100 yards on 166 carries last season) is back to wear opponents out with a hard-nosed ground attack for another year.