• John Macon Gillespie

Berry Puts In Work At Fortius Project

Zack Berry is ready to tackle his Rams' challenges head-on.

The Vardaman defensive lineman is looking to help his team build off of their 2016 success and compete for a starting spot at nose guard. For Berry, that means he has to play his best and improve, which was his goal on Sunday's Fortius Project

“I think we all did great [at Fortius],” Berry told SES Mississippi. “We all learned something new.”

Berry is a part of a Vardaman Ram team that is coming off of a 7-5 2016 campaign that lost seven seniors to graduation. One of these seniors was star nose guard Garrett Hurst.

Although Berry has a chance to be a new starter in the Rams' defensive scheme, his main focus and motivation comes from his family which has a rich athletic history in Vardaman.

“Goal for me is to be a better defensive lineman than my dad,” Berry said.

Berry knew that his statement sounded modest, but that is his way of shooting for the stars. Berry's dad Joe Berry had a prolific career at Vardaman as a football player.

“My dad was a really good football player,” Berry said. “I just want a name for myself around here and everything like he did.”

“Goal for my team is, of course, to get to state,” Berry said. “I would love to make it to state and be the [school's] first time to win it my senior year.”

Berry believes that he and his team have what it takes to reach Oxford in December, but he knows that it will be anything but easy.

“I believe we can do it this year,” Berry said. “We are going to be tough to beat, but everything is going to be new since we are in 3-1A.”

The “3-1A” that Berry mentioned is in reference to Region 3-1A, Vardaman's new region for the 2017-19 seasons. Region 3-1A is in the southern classification for 1A schools, but Vardaman is in North Mississippi, approximately an hour from Oxford, Tupelo and Grenada. The MHSAA's reclassification of Vardaman (along with a few other 1A schools that historically have played in the North) has been met with a wave of criticism from Vardaman natives.

Vardaman appealed the reclassification in December, but was denied by the MHSAA office.

Despite these new challenges that will face his team in 2017, Berry brings a talent to the table that the Rams can utilize. When Berry received playing time last season, there were numerous plays in which he was wreaking havoc in 1A backfields. The Fortius Project for Berry, like so many other athletes, proved as an opportunity to compare his talent to other area athletes and continue to work towards the 2017 season.

#Vardaman #JohnMaconGillespie

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