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Vinton’s Anfernee Dixon has become a terror on defense with his ability to pick off passes and turn them into points. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Vinton’s Anfernee Dixon has become a terror on defense with his ability to pick off passes and turn them into points. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Dixon’s 13 interceptions lead Vinton

Last Modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 10:48 AM

By Rhett Manuel / American Press

Few, if any, forecasted the Vinton Lions as an elite team in Class 2A before the season. Coming off a 3-7 season in 2012, the Lions were overlooked. Vinton’s two-way star junior Anfernee Dixon can relate.

Vinton head coach Tarius Davis describes Dixon as “mild mannered.” “Reserved” is another term he’s used.

His play has been anything but those things. He has 13 interceptions for the Lions (10-2) while being one of the top receivers among Southwest Louisiana small school teams. Dixon will lead the No. 7-seed Lions this Friday as they travel up to No. 2 Winnfield (10-2).

Dixon, a wide receiver on offense and safety on defense, has played for Vinton since his freshman year. But last season, he was overlooked for postseason accolades despite having a solid sophomore season.

That won’t be the case this year. There’s little questioning if Dixon even belongs on the Class 2A all-state team.

“He always seems to find himself around the football,” Davis said. “At any level of football, when you have 13 interceptions at this stage of the year that’s pretty impressive within itself.”

“He has this switch. Once he gets out there to play he’s the ultimate competitor. He loves to compete and I think this year he played with a chip on his shoulder after he felt slighted last postseason in terms of awards. It added a little incentive to play as well as he’s played.”

It’s easy to understand why Dixon is overlooked, at least physically. Among the gifts he possesses, size is not one of them. On a good day, he’s 160 pounds. One could probably tack on “soaking wet” at the end of the sentence.

However, he makes up for a lack of size with an instinct for finding the football. In last Friday’s 41-14 blowout of Rosepine it was no strange sight to see No. 2 in the vicinity of most pass plays, as evidenced by his three interceptions.

“What makes him special is his uncanny ability to find the football and always be in that area when the opportunity is there to make a play,” Davis said.

“You know if you get him close to the football he’s going to make a play. He’s been a joy to coach these last two years. He’s just a playmaker.”

No doubt, Dixon’s leadership by example has helped spring Vinton’s turnaround from area afterthought to one of seven remaining area teams in action this Friday.

“We’re coming off a 3-7 season,” Davis said. “To be at this point and advance to the quarterfinals after two years of 3-7 is a big turnaround for our program. Credit to the kids, they bought into the program and worked hard. They battled through those 3-7 years to kind of see the reward of the type of season we’re having this year.”

The Lions have flown under the radar yet grabbed the moment when it’s mattered most all season. They’re hoping for another one this Friday.

A few big plays from Dixon wouldn’t hurt either.

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