'Long' time coming: Senior steps into the spotlight for Southeast Whitfield

Matt Hamilton/Daily Citizen-News

Southeast Whitfield High School's Colter Long has stepped up as a leader during his senior year.

Editor's note: This story is featured in the Daily Citizen-News' weekly high school football Touchdown! section. Grab an issue in papers on Fridays during football season, or stop by our office for a copy.

When Colter Long looks back on his four-year football career at Southeast Whitfield High School, plenty of memories will flood his mind.

But his most enduring memory? His first high school touchdown.

In 2018, the Raiders were playing Murray County during Long's junior season.

"We were inside the 15 on the opposite side of the field," said Long, now a senior playing receiver and safety. "We called '311 naked.' The quarterback checks the left side, and if he's not open he boots out and I had a swirl route. I remember Adam (Sowder) just throwing it between us and I just went and got it. I don't remember hearing anything. I looked at the ref and he said we scored. It was crazy."

Southeast coach Sean Gray said Long's versatility has been important to the Raiders as the team's numbers have been low this season. In addition to playing receiver, this season Long has performed long snapping duties, returned kicks and played on the kickoff team.

"He's been a really good player for us," Gray said. "He's had a really good senior year. He's been a solid player for us. Two years ago, we had dudes out there that he was behind at receiver. Of course, he got his chance to play, took advantage of it and has been a big part of our team."

Those "dudes" he was behind were three players who signed college football scholarships -- Landon Eaton (Huntingdon College), Oscar Gonzalez (Kennesaw State University) and Porter Johnson (Shorter University).

Long said the lessons he learned from those players were invaluable, and singled out Gonzalez for helping him develop as a receiver. Now in his final season, Long has taken on the mentoring role, he said.

"My role is to be a vocal leader and get all of these younger guys encouraged, to help them out when they need it and just get the job done," Long said.

The Raiders (0-9, 0-5 in Region 6-4A) won't make the playoffs this season. The team closes out its season on the road against Ridgeland tonight. Although Southeast has yet to scratch the win column, Long has still enjoyed his last football season.

"Yeah, we haven't won and it's been really stressful at school because everybody depends on you to win," Long said. "I feel like it's been more fun this year because we've all grown up together and gotten so much closer this year. It's just been a real fun season this year."

After high school, Long said he may pursue playing college football. If that doesn't pan out, he hopes to attend electrical lineman training school.

"There aren't many people working in those kind of trades, and you make good money," Long said. "I want to be able to help may parents and pay back everything they've done for me."

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