In football, at any level, there is always that guy who has a person reaching for the game program. The unheralded player who is making all the plays. No one's ever heard of him.
These players like to get dirty. They take all comers and accept all assignments..
Players like RB-WR-KR Cameron Miller at Clermont East Ridge, or QB-KR-P-K Damon Haecker of Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley, or K-P-QB Bobby Puyol at Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, or maybe even WR-DB-K-P-QB Hayden Jones at Orlando Lake Highland Prep, and most definitely Teamer Terry at Daytona Beach Mainland. … these players deserve a shot at the next level, whatever that might be. Some will get a chance, while most will not.
Terry has several letter designators that belong in front of his name. He plays LB-TE-DB-LS-DE-WR-RB-FB, and even kicks sometimes. Not much he can't do. Handle the water-bottle detail? No problem.
Perhaps his parents knew something when they named him Teamer.
"It's just something I've been doing since I was little and I'll do whatever it takes for the team," said Terry, whose main position is linebacker.
If there was a designated hitter in football, it's Teamer Terry.
"A .. T .. H," he said, spelling out the oft-used initials for an athlete, a player with more than one specialty.
When he's walking around Daytona Beach without a helmet and pads, he looks more like a surfer. His teammates call him Clay Matthews, after the Green Bay Packers' linebacker, while teammate and good friend Leonard Williams is the high school hair apparent to Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Troy Polamalu.
"Oh yeah, people try to pull it sometimes," Terry said of his long locks. "It'll get me heated, but it's part of the game. It just makes you a target."
At Dwyer, Puyol was the starting quarterback coming in his senior year, having sat behind Florida Gators' freshman Jacoby Brissett – who made his college debut against LSU on Saturday, a 41-11 loss -- for the past two years. This was supposed to be his turn. Then people started talking about this phenom named Faton Bauta, an incoming senior from Brooklyn (N.Y.) Poly Prep Country Day School.
"It was frustrating in the spring just because I had two years of backing up Jacoby," Puyol said. "At the end of the summer, I just decided I would help the team out any way I can. I leave it up to the coaches. My job is to help make him a better quarterback."
Puyol still gets QB reps, and many think he should start. In the meantime, Puyol, who will kick at UConn next year, helps by kicking school-record 54-yard field goal.
"It's great. I'm not like just a kicker," he said. "I like being a team player and I like the captain's role. It's an honor and it's fun not just doing one thing in practice."
As for East Ridge's Miller, you might not find a smaller varsity player than the 5-foot-4, 150-pounder, but he plays as big as anyone, says East Ridge Coach Bud O'Hara.
"He plays among giants and it doesn't slow him down. He has no fear. He's been very, very helpful for our offense," O'Hara said. "He goes against our first team defense everyday in practice. He's unselfish. He just wants to make his team better."
Miller plays RB-WR-KR for the Knights and he can be very exciting when he gets the ball in his hands with his 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash..
"We make sure he touches that thing at least 6 or 7 times a ball game."
Of course, guys like Hayden Jones and Damon Haecker aren't necessarily "unheralded" players, although they don't usually get the kind of credit they deserve.
Sure, there's Ti'on Green at running back, but Haecker is the reason why Lake Brantley is 6-0. He leads this bunch by example. Sticking his head in there where quarterbacks should not. A perfect complimentary running quarterback to the all-star production of Green.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention. Haecker is really a baseball player, a shortstop ranked nationally. He's also the only junior listed here.
Jones has recently gained the nickname "Clutch" at Lake Highland, after catching a last-minute touchdown pass from QB Evan Jaeger to lift the Highlanders past Orlando Jones High last week. The speedy wide receiver (5-11, 170), who also kicks, punts, plays DB and has surprised teams with his ability to play a bit QB part on fakes and in Wildcat situations, is one of the fastest players in the state and he has great hands. He doesn't get a lot of looks in a limited LHP passing game, but he makes them count.
Last year we saw one of the best ATH's around playing for 6A state runner-up Dr. Phillips. Utility player Patrick Fenlon, now a student at UCF, played TE-FB-RB-WR-LS-LB-DE-P.
He even entertained possible Division I-A scholarships to places like Duke before he decided to just hit the books at UCF. Perhaps the Knights ought to coax him into walking on. He could play anywhere for coachGeorge O'Leary.
I think we'll start an award for the unheralded players this year. We'll call it the Pat Fenlon Award. That has a ring to it.
Coaches, nominate your unheralded players for the first Pat Fenlon Award via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun