Effort pays dividends for Brown

By Allen LaMountain
ASST SPORTS EDITOR
alamountain@starhq.com

   As a junior, Walter Brown finished with the second highest rushing totals in the Big Eight (now Mountain Lakes) Conference with 800 plus yards. As a senior Brown wants to be second-to-none as he intends to put the Elizabethton Cyclones offense on his back if necessary to insure success in 2002.
   "This is the first summer that we had Walter here," said EHS head coach Tommy Jenkins. "I think that shows the kind of desire and fire he has going into this season. No one has outworked Walter this summer, that's for sure."
   No one outworked Brown on Friday night at Brown-Childress Stadium either, as he accumulated 28 carries in the offense for 203 yards rushing, and also returned a pair of punts and a pair of kickoffs to give him a grand total of 278 all-purpose yards in 'Betsy's 34-28 season-opening victory.
   Brown fought through cramping in his calves twice in this contest, but simply refused to give in to the pain, saying afterward, "I'm a senior and I'm not coming off the field."
   Brown's determination seemed to turn the tide for 'Betsy as his eight-yard touchdown plunge got EHS on the scoreboard after a 53-yard jaunt saw Brown finally find a crease in the Science Hill defense following a first quarter of futility.
   The play was a toss sweep that Brown took to the inside, totally surprising the Hilltopper defenders who were expecting the outside run. On the play the 'Toppers inside linebacker flowed to the outside, where he was sealed off by blocks from Chad Street and Jake Jenkins, giving Brown a two-lane road to run through.
   "That's sort of a misdirection play," said Brown in the joyous moments after his efforts had paid big dividends to the squad. "When I get the pitch I just look for the nearest hole. It's supposed to look like a sweep, which makes the defenders go outside, then I just cut it upfield."
   That type of determination seemed missing at times during an up and down junior year that saw Brown miss all or parts of three games, and he knows that the numbers he could have put up had he played would have significantly improved his overall statistics. But that is in the past, and Brown wants to concentrate on the here and now.
   "Walter has dedicated himself to this season," Jenkins said in a pre-season interview. "He knows he has some schools looking at him, and that we are counting on him for our running game. Barring injury I think Walter is ready to have his best year ever."
   Teammates Lester Bailey and Ryan Curtis were in awe of the display Brown put on against a tough 'Topper squad.
   "My man Walter was running hard and making things happen for us. He picked the whole team up with the way he was running." Bailey said.
   Curtis also had words of praise for Brown's efforts, saying, "We weren't doing anything offensively until Walter got us going. We had success with the power-toss and Walter kept coming through with big runs. It really lifted the whole team, because now we knew we could be successful."
   With the Tennessee High Vikings coming to Brown-Childress Stadium this Friday night, Brown knew it would be huge to get off to a good start against Science Hill.
   "We had to build some confidence in ourselves and especially with the offensive line," he said. "They did a great job and really I give it all to them. They didn't quit when we couldn't move the ball the first few times, and if they don't quit I'm not going to either."
   That dedication will serve him well as he will be a marked man against the Vikings. But Brown, who is being scouted by Tennessee Tech and Middle Tennessee State among others, also knows that a solid showing this season could give him the opportunity to continue playing football and will also provide the Cyclones a chance to get back to where they were a few short seasons ago -- at the top of the Mountain Lakes Conference.
   For his efforts against the 'Toppers, Brown earned The Star's Player-of-the-Week honors, which will be officially announced in Thursday's edition.