• John Macon Gillespie

Kitchen Relentless This Offseason

South Panola seems to always have big time players emerge at the defensive line position. A quick look back and immediately names like Jerry, Gross and even as recent as Porter come to mind. The 2016 team will be more of the same for the Tigers.

Junior defensive lineman Eriq Kitchen knows the history of the position and is ready to embrace his roll in 2016.

“A person can't imagine playing for a team like South Panola,” Kitchen explained. “With the coaches and the players that we have had come through, it’s amazing and having a town that supports you is crazy. It's the best feeling to have. But South Panola Football isn't for everyone.”

Junior O’Bryan Goodson was a run stuffing machine in 2015 and it appears that he and Kitchen will be a tough duo to handle in 2016.

Kitchen made the most of his opportunities in 2015. The 6-3, 235-pounder racked up 5 sacks for South Panola and over 20 tackles. He expects those numbers to rise moving forward.

”We had a great team, unfortunately we didn't make it to the state championship,” Kitchen told SES Mississippi. “On a personal level, I had an okay season. Hopefully with more opportunities I can have the season that I want. Hopefully we can get to the North State and State because even though a lot of seniors are leaving we still have a championship team and coaches.”

Kitchen is putting in plenty of long days doing the work he needs to do to help himself and his team improve this offseason.

“I'm working on my lower body, like power cleans and squats to get the offensive line off me,” Kitchen said. Gaining weight is a big key also but I've been working with my coaches to help me do that.”

Kitchen will be attending the Fortius Project on April 30 at ICC. There he will join more than 20 other South Panola Tigers in the combine against some of the state’s top talent.

“To go out and compete,” Kitchen added. “By attending the camp, hopefully I can get the exposure that I need because I know that I can play with anyone. It will be fun going against other offensive lineman in Mississippi.”

**Photo by Andy Young Photography.

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