By Andy Amey
It was a good, if occasionally nippy, weekend for left-handed quarterbacks and middle linebackers in high school football.
While watching Rockville’s win over Attica and Marshall’s gallant effort at Auburn, Ill., I enjoyed not one, not two but three lefties throwing and running with the ball. Rockville’s Matt King and Marshall’s Taylor Duncan did most of the running — “He’s got a lot of swivel,” one of my fellow sideline observers said Saturday of Marshall’s Duncan, who looked like Gale Sayers in the first half — but little lefty Michael Bates of Auburn was somehow able to throw a few darts and complete a few clutch passes on that gusty Saturday afternoon.
(I don’t get to cover as many Illinois playoff games as I used to, but I can count on one thing happening when I do: it will be windy, and there won’t be much on the prairie to slow that wind down.)
I don’t need to say much about Rockville yet because I get to see the Rox play Linton this week in a game that should be nothing but fun. Looking back, however, I do wonder how I wrote an entire story about the Rox without mentioning James Kent’s work on the offensive line, at middle linebacker and occasionally at blocking back.
James is, as the saying goes, built like a brick outhouse and likes knocking people down, which is why I like watching him.
But I know coach Herb King has got an extensive bag of offensive tricks, so maybe this week I’ll get to see him carry the ball.
My favorite middle linebacker of the weekend played the next day, however, and typified the Marshall effort.
On paper, there should have been no way the Lions could compete with Auburn. The Trojans had a 244-pound fullback and a 272-pound blocking back, plus huge offensive and defensive lines and a 6-foot-5 split end. But for more than a half the skinny Lions outhit their hosts, 5-7 defensive back Jerald Davis went up a couple of times to knock balls away from the 6-5 kid — and the Lions also had Chance Rector.
Chance might not have been Marshall’s best player Saturday, but he was a noticeable as any of them. More than once I heard the other sideline hollering, “Somebody block the middle linebacker” — but maybe they couldn’t find him.
Which brings me to the first of the Amey Awards for 2008 high school football:
Nickname of the Year — Chance “Five Feet of Concrete” Rector. That’s a height reference, by the way.
The awards for Vigo County are soon to follow, after a successful season that included eight wins for West Vigo and more representative play by Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South in the nation’s second-best high school conference. You’ll notice the MIC has half the remaining Class 5A teams in the state tournament; I’ll be surprised if two aren’t in the championship game, and I’ll be stunned if the southern part of the state isn’t represented by it.
Seniors of the year — Eli Bean, Wade Bush, Nathan Dugger, Chris Hawkins, Brandon Heaton, Jase Kaufman, Lance Lloyd, Josh Loudermilk, Cory Porter, Dru Sappington, Billy Sisson, Stephen Stucker, Scott Weatherford, Frank Willis and David Woodason, North; Josh Bell, Josh Bridwell, Elias Brown, Ethan Buske, Dustin Doss, Tyler Furniss, John Haley, Cody Kraemer, Kyle Krockenberger, Michael Mardis, Michael Nasser, Gary Passmore, Jonathan Thacker and Derek Thomas, South; and Ian Bolin, Jacob Collins, Jessie Earls, Jeramy Elkins, Austin Humphrey, Jeff Jones, Landon Keith, Cody Leek, Lucas Mackey, Tyler Rohlman, Kameron Silcock, Jordan Smith and Aaron Welch, West Vigo.
Juniors of the year — Aaron Allen, Nicholas Andreason, Doug Collett, Caleb Coons, Brian Counterman, Ben King, Chris O’Leary, Shawn Riggs, Corey Risley, Antonio Theriault and Trent Walls, North; Cody Bell, Brandon Brock, Billy Byerley, Mitchell Dagnon, Nate Drada, Bryn Schwartz, Tanner Symon, Jeremy Wilson and Jerry Wilson, South; and John Burt, Nick Cramer, Aaron Hoffman, Josh Hubbard, Don Humes, Jacob Kelley, Craig Knoepfel, Dyman Lewellyn and Jesse Murphy, West Vigo.
Sophomores of the year — Dylan Aff, Cole Lydick and Casey Sereno, West Vigo; Joel Blakely, Josiah Blakely, Kevin Bracken, A.J. Buck, Logan Buske, Dillon Carter, Dustin Galenski, Zack Lewis, Jimmy Maxwell, P.J. Montgomery, Tommy Moore, Zack Schultz, Nate Schuster, Tre Stephens, John Story and Aaron Sullivan, South; and Maris Clark, Daniel Gabbard, Dillon Hare, Chad Holler, David Knight, Michael Mace, Garrett Peabody and Justin Van Bever, North.
Freshmen of the year — Special mention has to be made here of West Vigo’s Matt Flesher, certainly the best player nobody had ever heard of until late August. The other ninth-graders are his teammates Harley Elkins, Nathan Gregg and Cody Thornton plus Tyler Evans of South.
Senior good guys — Ethan Chandler, Caleb Clark, Mat Foster, Johnny Norton and Jake Patterson, South; Tim Coyle, North; Dima Stott, West Vigo.
Most improved players — The special mention here is for North’s Scott Weatherford, who finished the year punting as well as his highly paid brother used to. Others on the list are Jacob Collins, Nick Cramer and Tyler Rohlman of West Vigo and Mitchell Dagnon of South
Tough-luck players — Give the Patriots a healthy Chris O’Leary all season and who knows what might have happened. A.J. Buck, Michael Nasser, Shane Stephens and Derek Thomas of South and Jeff Jones and Jordan Smith of West Vigo also sat too much.
Leading receiver, offensive line — Lance Lloyd, North.
Andy Amey can be reached after 4 p.m. for comments or news items at (812) 231-4277 or at 1-800-783-8742; by e-mail at email@example.com; by mail at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN, 47808; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.