Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

October 17, 2012

Hard work pays off for G-Man

Hatfield claims Player of the Week

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Cody Hatfield is a hard worker in the weight room.

According to Graham head football coach Mike Williams, Hatfield is one of the physically stronger members of the team. Hatfield’s hard work paid off for the G-Men last Friday night as he helped lead the G-Men to a 45-42 Mountain Empire District win at Galax.

Hatfield rushed for 170 yards, had three receptions for 117 yards, returned two kicks for 33 yards and had nine tackles to earn Pocahontas Coal Association/ Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week honors.

“Cody is just a super kid and all this really started in the off-season. You kind of get to see the results of your work on Friday nights,” Williams said. “He was a committed player in the off-season program, came here religiously, lifted weights.

“He’s a tough kid, he hits hard, he runs hard, he provides good leadership for our guys and I’m real happy for him that this worked out the way it did.”

The 6-foot, 168-pound senior tailback quickly deflected attention away from himself to his teammates, crediting the G-Men front and quarterback for his success last week.

“It felt good running behind my line and they have been blocking so excellent all year,” Hatfield said. “I can’t take all the credit for that win because Spencer (Sheets), he was throwing the ball very well. He had 227 yards passing and defensively I was out there to help my team and help my defense stop them (Galax).”

With the nine tackles from his safety position, Hatfield said he just had a good feeling during the game that helped him perform as he did.

“I felt lighter this week, so I could get to the ball faster,” Hatfield commented. “The cornerbacks and outside linebackers were doing a great job of giving me a good alley to get into.”

When asked to further explain Hatfield said, “I just think it all came together. I had a good week of practice, I had a good lift one day last week. I felt good and I felt like I was in a good place Friday night.”

Work in the weight room is something that Hatfield enjoys.

“Every time we go into the weight room I try to make myself stronger, faster and bigger every chance I get,” Hatfield said. “When I’m at home I try to do push-ups and sit-ups whenever I have down time and nothing to do.

“I feel that the stronger you are and the more agile you are may help you become a better football player, so I like to work as hard as I can to be stronger and better.”

Hatfield’s head coach said it has made a difference in the young man’s abilities.

“The big thing with Cody between last year and this year is he has just gotten a lot stronger,” Williams observed. “He is exponentially, physically stronger than he was a year ago. And probably last year to this year he remains the fastest kid on the team, so he’s good real good speed. You’ve got to take a good angle of pursuit to catch a kid of his speed.”

From the yardage he gained last week, it is obvious that Galax was not able to get a good angle on Hatfield.

“Not many defensive lines have been able to get past our offensive line this year,” Hatfield said. “It opened up great holes for me and once I got past them, my speed and strength have helped me break a couple of tackles and open up big runs for me.”

Hatfield recalled one such run from the Galax game.

“It was on the left side and I just remembered seeing our tackle, he took his guy inside, and then the tight end took his guy outside, and there was just a big, gaping hole for me and I hit it and tried to go as fast as I could up the sideline,” he said.

In addition to 170 yards rushing, Hatfield had over 100 yards receiving against the Maroon Tide. He recalled one of the plays.

“I had one pass (reception) that went for a touchdown,” Hatfield recollected. “It was a downfield play-action pass, misdirection, and Spencer threw it right in my hands, in stride and it let me outrun everybody else.”

Considered by the coaching staff as a player who welcomes and works with younger players, Hatfield said that is a role he cherishes and one that is necessary for the success of the Graham football team.

“I remember my freshman year it was a scary transition from eighth grade to ninth grade, being a freshman on a JV football team,” Hatfield said. “I remember looking at the seniors like, ‘Wow, they’re so much bigger than me. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through practice.’

“I just like to help the freshmen see that we’re not big, and bad, and scary, we’re just part of the team and you’re a teammate of ours and nobody should push you around, or pick on you, or make you feel uncomfortable in the locker room,” Hatfield said.

“Freshmen are our future. They are the next step the next time Graham will win a state championship, win the next games, and just make the program progress throughout the years.”

Up next on Hatfield’s agenda is helping the G-Men to victory on Friday night and in their remaining games.

“We have Bland County this week and we believe they have a pretty good team. There’s a couple of games they fell short that they could have won,” Hatfield said. “We’ve worked pretty hard this week. We think if we play as good as we can, we can beat Bland and then next week Fort Chiswell, they’re a really good football team as well.

“We believe that we just have to keep working, keep moving ahead to finish up the season strong and win the next three games.”

— Contact Bob Redd

at bredd@bdtonline.com

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