Varsity Preps

Meet Christian Saulsberry

It is the beginning of summer workouts for Southaven football in 2012. In walks a 5’2” freshman that no one really knows, except his immediate friends and classmates. His name is Christian Saulsberry.

Christian doesn’t make much noise to get noticed by his coaching staff. He tries to quietly blend in with his team members.

“This year will be different,” his coach explains, after watching Christian during season practice. “We need someone with experience in the game and a leader who can play quarterback.” The young man, who has played running back since the age of five, is now taking on the role of a quarterback. Being a dual sport athlete, playing baseball as well, has strengthened and enhanced his abilities to play the QB position.

It’s time to make a little noise!

The 9th game of the season was against Center Hill. Up until this point, the coaches have only witnessed his performance in scrimmages with his teammates. Southaven had been leading since the start of the game. With two minutes left in the game, Center Hill scored to take the lead. Southaven ran a few plays to get downfield. They were at Center Hill’s 40 yard line. The coach calls a timeout to settle the team down and dial up a play. The team goes back on the field in an attempt to run the play.

Christian’s mom was in the stands holding her breath along with everyone else in hopes that a miracle would happen to win the game. The ball was hiked; a pass play had been called by the coach. However, the receiver was not open. He tried to pump fake and lob the ball to the receiver, but he knew that was not going to work. At a moment’s notice, Mom said she saw the plan develop; he was going to run with it, not running away from the crowd of defenders. He ran straight into them, and being smaller than the average players on the opposing team, he was no longer visible, and like a flash of light, he shot out of the stacked defense to break away and run for a 60 yard touchdown. It was just like his mom knew would happen. The game was over. Southaven wins!

As he walked to the bus with his 9th grade coach, they ran across his dad helping his mom get into their truck. She had major knee surgery two weeks before that game and was in a wheelchair. She told her son she would never miss his games if she could help it, and yelled “good game son.”

Christian continued to lead his 9th grade team to a winning season. A few weeks later against Horn Lake, it happened again, scoring with only seconds left on the clock. After the game, it was agreed that Christian would move up to varsity. He went on to finish his 9th grade season and played his very first varsity game against Horn Lake. He came into the game as running back and on special teams. He also came into the game during the first round of playoffs.

He is now a 5’6 sophomore running back and is coached by Head Coach Ed Rich and running back coach Aquaris Winston.

Vince and Melissa Smith, his proud parents, have preached the importance of not only being the best athlete, but being the smartest one, too. He has a GPA of 3.80, and is preparing for his sophomore Southaven baseball team, where he will play leftfield. As a starter on the freshman team, he helped lead his team to the 6A MHSAA state championship game that the team won.

Christian is caring, smart, confident, physical, quick, elusive, 1st down ready, a coachable player and a leader. He never succumbs to challenges and wants to become a role model for young athletes, and has all the good attributes of a well-rounded athlete.

A special thanks to his mother, Melissa Smith, for her time and dedication on making this article possible.

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