Southside, Keith High split two MVP honors

Published 7:17 am Wednesday, December 27, 2023

The Selma Times-Journal’s two football Most Valuable Player awards went to Keith High and Southside.

Keith High linebacker Jarius Sanders was named The Times-Journal defensive MVP; Southside quarterback MJ Reese landed The Times-Journal offensive MVP award.

Sanders came out of nowhere as a junior to lead a hard-hitting, physical Keith defensive squad.

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For the season, Sanders had 127 total tackles  and four interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Sanders also had six forced fumbles and six games recording at least 15 total tackles.

Sanders credits the Bears’ defensive line, coach Anthony Lumpkin and the other coaches for his success.

“Being named defensive MVP feels good, but I wouldn’t have gotten it without the defensive line, coach Lumpkin and my mom, Jennifer Sanders,”  Sanders said.

Lumpkin said Sanders always play with all-out effort.

“I’m impressed with his eagerness to always compete and wanting his teammates to be just as good if not better than him,” Lumpkin said.

Reese transferred back from Selma to Southside and became the top quarterback in Dallas County.  Reese completed 120 of 184 passes for 3,199 yards and 26 touchdowns.. He also ran for 584 yards and eight more TDs.

“It’s a dream come true,” Reese said. “From my season last year, I did not expect to come back and get offensive MVP. Throwing to Derick and Erick Smith is one of the best feelings in the world. Coach Charles Moody told me to always keep faith in myself. He feels  I’m only going to take myself as far I want to take myself.”

Southside head coach Charles Moody Jr. said he admired how Reese always delivered in the clutch.

“MJ Reese has great arm strength, very athletic and has instinctive motivation to be great,” Moody said.