"Chris (Strong) and them won 56 in a row, so we want to match what they did," added the 6' 0", 190 cornerback, Bud Barksdale. "We have a little competition amongst us. We do not want anybody to outdo our class."
The amazing run the Tigers are on has been due to two factors, coaching and talent.
Coach Ricky Woods came to South Panola after South Panola hit a bump in the road, as they lost 3 games the year he arrived, but the Tigers have only lost one game during his 5 year tenure.
"Coach (Woods) just keeps up level headed and motivated. He has a great system too, so we know as long as we carry out our responsibilities, we are going to win. It is about us, not the other team. But the thing that Coach Woods carries over here is respect. Any of us would give our left arm for him. He is like a second dad to us. We eat over at his house. Mrs. Woods cooks for me three or four days a week. We play video games over there every night. His house is like our house and that is where we build our bond between us."
That bond runs deep between the players, but without talent, it would not equal a 60 game winning streak. Next year's rising senior class will be just as talented as this year's. One of the key contributors from this class is Bud Barksdale.
Last season, Bud collected 43 tackles, 22 pass breakups (led team), and 5 interceptions (led team). At the end of the season, they moved him over to tailback with his first cousin, Darrius Barksdale, so Coach Woods could get a sneak peak at what life is going to be without their star RB/FB, Jeramie Griffin.
"It was a lot of fun (playing tailback). Me and Tig (Darrius Barksdale) are going to have a good time back there next year, but I still know where my bread and butter is at, and that is at left cornerback. That is where my future lies."
Bud took a hand-off and raced 68 yards for the clinching TD against Meridian in the Class 5A State Championship game and the Clarion Ledger started the promotion of Bud Barksdale as one of the state's elite rising seniors the next day.
"We always have a lot of pressure to carry on the tradition here, but that is what makes us tick. We live for pressure. If you do not meet pressure face to face, then it will eat you up. But with so many great players around you, it is not hard to defeat it."
Bud was named to the 1st Team All-Division and All-State (5A) teams at cornerback as a junior. What makes Bud so good at CB?
"My coverage skills is the biggest thing. I also like to make the big hit. But my 4.4 speed gives me the ability to make up for mistakes while the ball is in the air. I know I will have to continue to work on my techniques when I get to college, but I will try and iron all of that out during the summer camps."
Bud had a chance to attend the passing camp last summer at Millsaps and Ole Miss and plans on making a few this summer.
"I want to go back to Ole Miss and head down to Florida for a camp of theirs. We are going to go over to the Army All-American combine next month too, hopefully."
It is no surprise that Ole Miss and Florida are the two schools that stand out right now.
"Ole Miss and Florida are looking at me the hardest. Those are the main two I like right now."
What stands out about Ole Miss?
is like our home town school. All my boys are over there. You know, that want
me to carry on that "U" (University of South Panola) tradition. I just
like the atmosphere, players, and coaches over there."
What about Florida?
"I like mostly everything about Florida. I like how they play together."
Who is showing Bud the most "love" between the two schools?
"Florida. They send a letter to me every day. They just asked for my high light tape yesterday."
When it comes time to find that right school; what will be the main factors?
"The school. I really want to look at how their school is and the way it works. I want to be comfortable and familiar with their players and coaches."