The Manchester Blue Devils ripped through the regular season en route to an appearance in the Class A-Public quarterfinals. While the Manchester defense had several studs who made big plays, none made their presence felt more often than senior linebacker Jontavious Ferguson.
Ferguson was often a one-man wrecking crew for Manchester in 2017 as part of a defense that surrendered just under 14 points per game. When it was all said and done, Ferguson walked away with 108 total tackles as well as two pick-sixes to his credit.
Thanks to his play throughout the fall, Ferguson has been selected as the 2017 All-Bi-City 1A-3A Defensive Player of the Year.
“It felt very good to go on the run we had,” Ferguson said. “We took a tough loss in the third round to Mount Zion, but overall I liked our season. I thought we did very good team-wise, not just as individuals.”
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Ferguson said he grew as a leader this fall, mainly out of necessity. He was often responsible for getting his teammates lined up correctly and understanding the defensive playcalls, tasks that Ferguson quickly proved to be capable of handling.
For Ferguson, the secret to the Blue Devils’ defensive success stemmed from each person understanding their role.
“I felt like the whole defense wanted to fly around and hit somebody,” Ferguson said. “You didn’t have too many mistakes made. Everybody was doing their job, and they knew what the next person was supposed to do.”
Ferguson made a name for himself on the defensive side, but his favorite moment of the season actually came with the ball in his hands.
Ferguson pointed to Manchester’s Nov. 3 matchup with Macon County as the highlight of his senior year. Trailing with under one minute to go and the region championship on the line, the Blue Devils called a pass play with Ferguson designated as the primary target.
Ferguson reeled in the catch and scored to help the Blue Devils claim a 22-20 victory.
“That was a good play I’ll always remember,” Ferguson said. “Last year, I didn’t get that much touches. This year, I really opened the eyes of some people who thought I couldn’t do as much on offense.”
Ferguson saw his recruitment speed up in the past few weeks, which culminated with his committing to Georgia Southern on Dec. 16. He signed with the Eagles on Dec. 20 as part of the new early signing period.
Ferguson explained prior to visiting the Eagles what he wanted from the college he ultimately chose.
“I’m looking for good coaches and players who know how to relate to each other and have a close bond,” Ferguson said. “The biggest part is education. I want to make sure I get my education first.”
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports