Page pride and power of Bulldog line

By Jamie Combs
SPORTS EDITOR

   Hampton offensive tackle Harry Page is the words of a song by Bachman-Turner Overdrive come to life. He's always "taking care of business, and working overtime."
   "Harry's the man on the team," Bulldog coach J.C. Campbell said of his imposing senior lineman. "Harry's the one that gets the others lifting (weights) and shows them how, and works with them and all that sort of stuff.
   "He makes sure the fieldhouse is locked and he's the last one out. He's just 'Dependable Harry.'"
   A powerful 6-2, 290-pound package, Page has developed from a raw, unrefined performer into an all-conference caliber player during his three seasons as a starter.
   "I try to live up to my own expectations, but I don't think I really can live up to my total expectations and everything," said Page. "The only thing I can do is try my best."
   Trying his best has gone a long way toward helping the 'Dogs break a string of three straight losing seasons and close in on a second-place finish in the Watauga Conference.
   "Harry's a hard worker," said Hampton assistant coach Scotty Bunton. "He respects and is respected."
   According to Campbell, Page is the main man on the Bulldog offensive line.
   "Harry's the anchor," Campbell said. "He's the snuff."
   It's not been an easy road for Page, whose battle with bad knees temporarily forced him out of the lineup his junior campaign.
   He's bounced back, though, in fine style, playing in all of Hampton's eight games this season.
   "I've had some problems with my knees -- I try to overcome that," Page said. "I've had a lot of help and everything, like watching all my teammates lift (weights) with me. It gives me inspiration just to watch them work hard, get stronger and get better at what they do."
   Campbell attributes Page's newfound durability to hard work put in by the big blocker during the summer months.
   "He worked all summer to try and strengthen his legs some," said the Bulldog skipper. "He's a 17-18 year-old boy with a 40-year-old demeanor."
   When opening up holes for running backs Michael Peterson and Jeremy Hall, or providing good pass protection for sophomore quarterback Mitchell Morton, Page will often outmuscle a defender -- but is ready to use other tactics.
   "With my knee problems and all I try to overtake (a defender) with strength," Page said, "but sometimes you get real fast people, so you've got to try to go with the flow."
   With Page and the rest of the offensive linemen jelling into a good unit this season, the 'Dogs are averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground as Peterson and Hall have combined for five 100-yard rushing performances.
   Furthermore, Morton is nearing the 500-yard passing plateau in just his first year in a starting role.
   While the offense has made steady strides, Page has noticed improvement in all phases of the Hampton ball club, including camaraderie.
   "It's like our team has come together more than it has in the past," said Page. "We've become more of a team. We've become kind of like a family to each other. We take up for each other and help each other."
   Considering Hampton's return to the winning ways the program was long accustomed to, Page is brimming with optimism as his stellar senior season, and Bulldog career, starts coming to a close.
   "With every game we've played I've had higher hopes," Page explained. "We've had a few slumps here and there, but I think this team can overcome just about everything if they try."
   What better player to lead the charge than "Dependable Harry?"