Aarron Boatright is savoring his first national championship.
The Manning High School graduate helped the East Mississippi Community College football team win the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship.
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The sophomore started at left defensive end and made two tackles in the 31-28 victory over Arizona Western College on Sunday in Perkington, Miss. The Lions finished with an 11-1 record.
"Everything was mostly away from me," Boatright said about not getting more tackles. "It was just doing your job and being a great teammate.
"It was a great learning experience," said Boatright, who previously competed for Pima Community College in Arizona. "That's our standard. That's what our goals are -- winning a championship."
Boatright was named to the NJCAA all-Region 23 team and to the Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges all-state first team. He said he received a plaque for each.
The tallest player on the squad at 6-feet-5-inches, the 235-pound lineman finished with 27 tackles in 12 games, and his five sacks ranked second on the team. Three of his sacks came in one game, when he also had three tackles and broke up a pass.
He said he was able to get the sacks because "our defensive backs were covering extremely good."
He beat the tackle on the plays, although he noted that on "the second sack there was a running back" he pushed aside once he got into the backfield.
"The first one (sack) is always the hardest," he said. "The ones after that get easier."
Boatright is weighing his options about where to play next. He said he has an offer from a program in the Northwest and will make an official visit there this month. He has heard from Maryland and Mississippi schools as well.
"I'm just being patient and appreciative of every school that calls and shows interest in me," he said.
Send updates about area athletes to Barbara Boxleitner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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