/It’s one thing to look the part; Water Valley’s Bud Tolbert played the MVP role as well

It’s one thing to look the part; Water Valley’s Bud Tolbert played the MVP role as well

It wasn’t difficult when the Water Valley Blue Devils & Seminary Bulldogs took to the field Friday morning at The Rock in Hattiesburg for the State Class 3A Championship match. Nathan Pickering from Seminary, No. 22-year-old Nathan Pickering, No. He was listed as 6’4″ and 290 lbs by the program. He was all that you would want in a noseguard’s body. He was nearly a head taller than his teammates and several inches thicker. He was huge. For Water Valley, one couldn’t help but notice Bud Tolbert, a tall, handsome man wearing No. 5. He was listed at 6 feet 3 inches by the program. He was taller than he actually was, with his wingspan reaching just above his knees while standing still. He was 190lbs and probably only had a few ounces of body fat. Tolbert is the ideal wide receiver. He also plays cornerback on defense. He returned punts. These two, Pickering and Tolbert, were already a factor in the game’s success before it even began. Tolbert was more than that. Tolbert caught four passes for touchdowns and gained 100 yards. In Water Valley’s 34-28 win, he was named the game’s MVP. It was what he did that won him the game. Jacob Truss, the quarterback, said that “Nobody can cover Bud on one.” Truss threw all four touchdowns for Tolbert and also caught one trick play touchdown. We just went to Bud when they put only one man on Bud. Seven minutes into the game, Tolbert put the Blue Devils on top with a 24-yard touchdown passing. Water Valley led 14-6 just before the half-time break. The Blue Devils were third down with five yards remaining at the Seminary 35. Tolbert went straight down the field in single coverage. Truss attempted a pass three yards behind Tolbert but the big boy adjusted to the ball to bring it down and give the Devils a 21-6 halftime advantage. Water Valley led 28-6 at halftime when Tolbert scored a 35-yard touchdown. Seminary deserves credit for this: Even after Tolbert’s fourth touchdown on a six yard pass gave the Blue Devils a 34-12 lead in the third quarter, the Bulldogs didn’t quit. Pickering was a nuisance, blocking the running lanes and making five single tackles, two of them for loss, despite being often double-teamed. With 95 seconds remaining, Joseph Owens of Seminary ran 15 yards and scored 34-12. It was now 34-28. The Bulldogs demanded an onsides kick but Keldric MacIntosh landed it for Water Valley, sealing the win. Brian Rials, Seminary coach, said that they deserved to win the title today. They did a great job, but they’re not losers. Our guys were determined to win. “We never gave up,” Rials stated that the Bulldogs were aware of what was ahead in Bud Tolbert. Rials stated that he’s made many big plays for them throughout the year. “They were able to adapt to our defensive tactics.” They ran the ball well if we moved a safety to double him up. They threw the ball to him if we played him man–to-man. That’s great football.” Tolbert smiled and replied, “No, that’s not true,” “I’ve never caught 4 touchdowns in a single game before.” Tolbert will be representing the North in next week’s Bernard Blackwell All-Star Game. He has only ever gotten three touchdowns. He will then trade his spikes for sneakers to play basketball. Brad Embry, Water Valley coach, said that he could play college basketball if he wanted to. He’s so talented.” Tolbert runs a 4.6 40 yard dash and has been offered a football scholarship to Louisiana-Monroe. He said he wanted to play football. Pickering, a Seminary student, has made a commitment to Mississippi State. He wears a maroon-and-white uniform, which will be a hit with Bulldog fans. Pickering and Tolbert won’t soon forget that day when they took to the field in support of their communities before almost 7,000 spectators at the state championship game. Tolbert, no doubt, will cherish the fonder memories along with his MVP plaque.