ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Tigers’ senior class look ahead to future after playoff forfeit

Due to COVID-19, the Marksville Tigers were forced to forfeit their playoff spot against the Green Oaks Giants.

Head coach JT Dunbar said it’s been a tough week for the team.

“We had an opportunity to make it to the playoffs after a big game last week (Caldwell Parish). A lot of upset players, a lot of upset coaches. Our guys come out to work everyday and we worked so well to get a good position for the playoffs.”

Despite their forfeiture, the senior leaders of the team have a bright future to look forward to.

Some were meant to lead others meant to follow.

On the side of that leading spectrum, leaders John Small and Javon Sampson, along with the rest of the senior class, didn’t allow a slow season start to keep them down.

“We grew a lot. Starting off, we had a lot of young faces. They had to learn plays, learn how to execute the plays. You could tell that throughout the season that it all changed for the better.”

Ironically, both Small and Sampson returned earlier this year after injury, came back more motivated than ever, and setting high expectations for the rest of the team.

“Coming to this season off of injury, it was questions on if I would still be able to play the same or play fast. I feel like we came back and played well.”

With those expectations, came results.

The Tigers finished the regular season 4-3, 3-1 in district winning 4 of their last 5 games landing them the 26th spot in the playoffs.

Small passed for 755 yards, completing 54% and 11 touchdowns.

Sampson racked 66 tackles and 4 sacks, tying with senior teammate, Triston Jacobs.

Chris Simon capped off 3 sacks of his own.

As the guys’ last chapter was abrupt, they believe they left a mark with team and Coach Dunbar says this class was nothing less than special.