• John Macon Gillespie

Strong Can't Get Enough Football

It doesn’t take someone from North Mississippi to know about the historic football program at South Panola. The Tigers' past football teams are the thing of legend. Even as just a sophomore, D’Jordan Strong recognizes that when he steps on that field on Friday night, he stands on hallowed ground.

“While growing up I was seeing guys like Nick Brassell, Nick Parker, and Antonio Conner play,” Strong told SES Mississippi. “Watching those guys really made me want to give the game a try. Living in a small town like Batesville, football is something you just have to do. Either you play football or you bust. So I chose football and I love the game so much. I have been doing it since I was very young. It’s a part of my life now, there's school, there’s my family and then there’s football. I honestly don't think I could go a year without playing the game.”

Strong got his feet wet in 2015 and showed glimpses of greatness that will have a chance to shine bright in 2016. A look back at his sophomore campaign has Strong seeing the good times and the heartbreak.

“Last season, I had a little role being Donald Twilley’s back up,” Strong said. “I came in when he was tired or having to play both side of the ball. The loss was so upsetting. Every time I listen to Macklemore I think of it. I saw a lot of playing time on the field mostly on run blocks. This season coming up I will be catching a lot of passes and playing a little defense. I hope to have a huge impact on the team offensively.”

Strong is a fairly common name in the Batesville area. Many traded in their Tiger stripes for Ole Miss Red and Blue. D’Jordan knows exactly what his name means at South Panola.

“Those guys are my cousins so is O'Bryan Goodson he reminds me every day that I'm a Strong. Anytime I do something good or bad,” Strong explained. “Those guys were the linebackers and defensive linemen that did great things at South Panola so when people look at my size and find out that I'm related to them, it sort of shocks them until they see me play.”

Strong will enter his junior season along with quarterback and friend Patrick Shegog. The duo hope to become dynamic in the 6A ranks just as they have their entire football careers.

“Patrick and I have been buddies ever since we played football together when we were 8 years old. Except back then, I was a better quarterback,” Strong joked. “We are kind of like brothers. We're always competing no matter if it is catching passes or throwing. We are always competing. He keeps me on my grades and makes me want to be better. Our chemistry is going to be one of the keys to our team’s future success. We do after school routes and are hoping to take the team to state. We are going to break numerous records coming up next season.”

The QB/WR duo along with several other South Panola Tigers will be putting in work on April 30, at the Fortius Project at ICC.

**Photo by Andy Young Photography.

#WebbLewis #SouthPanola

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