Running back Marquis Crosby had not only a memorable season for the area but rewrote the Mississippi football history books.
Crosby broke the state’s single-season rushing record and led the nation in rushing yards by running for 3,678 yards while also scoring 34 touchdowns, which earned him PineBeltSPORTS Player of the Year.
“I’m very grateful,” Crosby said. “Obviously, there are a lot of players that are very good. I’m just honored to be named player of the year.”
Crosby shattered the previous record of 3,517 yards, which was set last year.
“I was proud of myself (for breaking the record), but I was also happy for my teammates,” Crosby said. “They were happy for me. My coaches pushed me hard each day and each practice. I’m just proud to accomplish something this year.”
The senior helped engineer a seven-game win streak for PCS as well as the school’s second-ever playoff win and an appearance in the MAIS 6A semifinals.
Crosby has edged his name in a long list of records. In addition to the state’s single-season rushing record, Crosby broke PCS’ school record for rushing yards in a single game, the school record for most touchdowns in a season and moved to fourth all-time in the state’s career rushing record. In his high school career, Crosby ran for 8,063 yards and 77 touchdowns.
“I got to watch history unfold a little bit,” PCS coach Derek White said. “He never set out to do what he did this year. Never in my wildest dreams did I think he would do this. We had some injuries about Game 4 of the year that hurt us on offense. It made us focus a little more on him as we lost threats. We lost our running back, tight end and had our quarterback go down.
“Marquis then just got better the more touches he got in every game. It was amazing to see. It was really spectacular.”
For Crosby, the accomplishing part of his season was being able to play the season to his fullest potential despite having a possible season-ending ankle injury in the summer of 2019. While Crosby played through 2019, the injury nagged him that entire season.
“I felt that I really worked hard this summer to getting back to where I know I could be,” Crosby said. “I was just hoping that it would allow me to perform my best.”
Crosby credited both White, his offensive line, and teammates for the success he had this season.
“Coach White is amazing. He is an amazing person. He watches out for all of his players. We want to play for him. Then the offensive line, they worked really hard, and they just want to win too, and they’ll do whatever it takes.”
Crosby helped contribute with the passing game in the Bobcat offense as he lined up at quarterback and wide receiver. Crosby threw four touchdowns and 247 yards while hauling in 79 yards and a touchdown. In the entire 2020 season, Crosby racked up 4,004 all-purpose yards and 39 touchdowns. As accomplished as Crosby’s numbers were, looking at the stat book is something he never does, which helps push himself even more.
“I just try to go out there and play hard each and every game no matter what happens,” Crosby said.
Despite getting off to a slow start with a 21-7 loss to Escambia Academy (Alabama), Crosby was held to a season-low of 118 yards and one touchdown. From there, Crosby found his legs as he rattled off eight straight games in which he ran for 230-plus yards and helped spark PCS’ win streak, and helped the Bobcats secure a home playoff game.
Crosby had a plethora of memorable games, but his most unforgettable was his 502-yard, six-touchdown performance on 34 carries in a 49-32 win over Simpson Academy.
“It was pouring down rain,” White said. “It was pretty amazing, and it was a downpour and really sloppy conditions. We threw a pick and fumbled early in the game.
“With those early turnovers, we felt like we needed to establish ourselves a little bit and showed him who we were. Marquis, I don’t think was slowed down all night. That was one for the ages.”
The performance broke the school record in rushing yards in a game. True to his character, Crosby had no idea about his recording-breaking stat line.
“I didn’t know how many yards I had,” Crosby said. “I just didn’t know. They just kept feeding me the ball, and I was just doing what I can do. I found out on Monday.
“I felt like I was (having a good game), but I never figured it was that many yards.”
According to White, what makes Crosby such a remarkable athlete is his ability to improve as the game goes on. On average this season, within Crosby’s first 18 carries, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry, but between his 18th and 28th carries, his average yards per carry jumped to 27 yards.
Crosby had another memorable game in PCS’ first-round playoff game against Oak Forrest Academy. Crosby ran for five touchdowns, which was his second five-touchdown game this past season, and 426 yards on 26 carries. In that game, Crosby broke the PCS school record for most rushing yards in a single season, which was previously held by Isaiah Woullard, on a 28-yard touchdown run.
In total, Crosby ran for more than 100 yards in every game this season, had 10 games in which he ran for 200 or more yards and three 300-yard games, while averaging 29 carries a game.
“He didn’t get heavily recruited this year because of all the stuff that went on,” White said. To see what he did and where he came from was an amazing feat. It makes the season even more impressive because of the kind of person he is.
“He is a tremendous kid that is so humble.”
As accomplished as his season was, though, Crosby is now set on the next chapter of his career as he is signed to play with Louisiana Tech.
“I’m very excited,” Crosby said. “I just want to go to the next level and make an impact there.”