There are a lot of things we know. We know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. We know the moon orbits the earth as surely as we know the earth orbits the sun.
We know as assuredly that certain eighth grade football players transitioning on to 9th grade are too far along physically and developmentally to not get varsity run once they hit the field on Friday nights. People profess amazement when we write this about a rising 9th-grader but this prediction is easier than you might think.
Freshmen play earlier and more often these days than in the “good old days.” There are lots of reasons for this.
Offseason training and individual position development has never been at more of a premium or more available. There are lots of postseason football played for players at the 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade levels of development giving young players more reps, more instruction, more game-speed opportunities. Top-flight, #NoDoubter-type, incoming freshmen are not much behind physically, mentally, or even in the area of football savvy as their upperclassmen counterparts.
Here it is in a nutshell for you high school football, first-teamers worried about losing your spots in the Friday night lineup to the hot, new freshman…continue to develop and work or you’re going to get passed. Your having been in high school longer than the new kid doesn’t entitle you to play. It isn’t “your” spot.
This isn’t vacation Bible school. This is football. Wins and losses matter.
Coaches will play the players who put them in position to win. Some of you are lucky the KHSAA wouldn’t let 8th-graders play up on the varsity or you would have been benched last year.
We have published articles about these types. Jalen Washington, Kory Combs, Hayes Preston, and now Belfy’s Isaiah Stanley are all examples. Stanley, according to the various agents we have around Pike County, Kentucky, figures to play LB/FB in the Belfry system for Coach Haywood as early as next Fall.
How soon does he get on the field for the big-boys? We aren’t exactly sure. Lets put it this way; he will be on the dress roster for the opener, just in case. We believe he will see action that first night and his role will only grow from there.
We could be wrong. He could start varsity from snap-one, night-one.
We talked to Coach Danny Oliver, the head football coach at Belfry Middle School which is coming off yet another KYMSFA State Championship. He told KPGFootball, “We love him at the high school level at the LB/FB slot. He played all over the field for us on both sides of the football in middle school. He will be fun to watch develop over the next four (4) years.”
He’ll be fun to watch for us at the magazine and for the Belfry’s Pirate Nation. For the rest of 3A, we aren’t sure “fun” is the word.
Stanley is 6-1 and weights 182-solid pounds. He runs the 40 in 4.7-seconds. As an eighth grader, he carried the football 149-times for 1,429-yards with 19-TDs. He caught 8-passes for 202-yards and another 4-scores from the receiver slot. Defensively he had 112-tackles, 16-TFLs, and a forced fumble.
Over the course of his middle school career, Stanley had 2,977-yards rushing, 235-yards receiving, 43-rushing TDs, and 4-TD receptions. That’s quite a middle school career. Yeah, we don’t see this guy sitting for long, if he sits at all; do you?
Stanley was the KYMSFA, Division 3 Kentucky Player of the Year. Predicting Stanley will challenge for playing time as soon as he gets assigned a locker isn’t too much of a stretch and doesn’t make KPGFootball the Edgar Cayce of high school football. Our job is easier than many people think.
It’s just a matter of finding them. Identifying them, and what they will likely become, is not so hard.
This is HB Lyon reporting for Kentucky Prep Gridiron reminding you that WE’RE JUST CALLING IT LIKE WE SEE IT!
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