Hilton Head High's Ford has strong showing at Semper Fi game

ccox@islandpacket.comJanuary 6, 2014 

Hilton Head Island High School football player Poona Ford, who has been selected to play in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl football game in Los Angeles on Jan. 5, is presented with his game jersey by Sgt. Stephen MacIver, left, and Staff Sgt. Christopher Mock, of the U.S. Marine Corps, at Friday's pep rally.

JAY KARR — Jay Karr Buy Photo

The next time Poona Ford steps on a football field, it will be as a college football player.

The Hilton Head Island High defensive tackle capped his prep career in Los Angeles at the Semper Fi All-American Bowl on Sunday night, bringing to close a four-year run with the Seahawks which included this season's Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette Defensive Player of the Year award.

Ford's East team lost, 31-24, but the four-star recruit still made his presence known. Despite finishing with just two tackles and one tackle for loss, he drew consistent double teams and managed to apply pressure to the quarterback in one-on-one situations.

"(He's) a guy who at practice they couldn't move," color commentator Ben Leber said during the broadcast. "They said, 'We just could not move this guy.' One-on-ones? Couldn't move him. Double teams? Couldn't move him."

Ford earned the start and played almost the entirety of the first half, including on 16 of the East's first 17 defensive snaps.

His first big play came on third and goal late in the second quarter, when he knifed through the West offensive line to take down the tailback on a big hit just moments after receiving the handoff. He added another tackle midway through the fourth quarter when he fought off a tackle to take down the running back after a 2-yard gain.

Two plays later, he forced a holding call on the West center after Ford was dragged to the ground moments before he got to the quarterback.

"He plays with great leverage," Leber said. "He's got a great center of gravity, big lower body and he shows off his strength all the time."

Ford's immediate future is up the air. The Louisville commitment has reopened his recruiting following the the departure of Cardinals coach Charlie Strong to Texas, though he still remains firm to his initial school of choice.

South Carolina, Missouri, Arizona and Purdue are all back in the mix, as well as the Longhorns, should Strong offer. Oregon, Michigan State and Mississippi State have also been in contact for Ford's services.

His prep football career is over. Where he takes his next snap remains to be seen.

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