Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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August 16, 2013

Young excels on the James Monroe field – and off

LINDSIDE — Brian Young not only can show his pigs at the State Fair of West Virginia — he could tackle one if need be. Or describe how their biology works.

The unassuming James Monroe High School student has one of the highest grade point averages in his class, is counted on at numerous positions on the Mavericks football team, and is dedicated to a Monroe County point of pride, farming.

On Thursday afternoon, the rising senior said, “Actually, I just got finished showing two pigs up at the fair. I’m pretty interested in farming and everything like that. We also have a garden and stuff. I’ve done that ever since I was little (through) 4-H and FFA.”

The resident of the Cook’s Run community near Lindside agreed that it’s hard to make a living as a small farmer these days, “but you can make things work if you really want to. You’ve got to get smarter with it.

“That’s where FFA and 4-H begins to teach you other skills and stuff that you need to use for farming, now.”

“But you’ve got to have passion for it. You’re out there about every day. You spend a whole lot of time out there, so you really have to care about it.”

He’s not the only farmer on the team, which has embraced an alternative nickname, “The Plowboys,” in recent years.

“Most of the team is pretty interested in it,” Young said about farming. They even share tips.

Young said, “We try to help each other out when we can. I mean, we all have our advice and our own strengths and our weaknesses, so we try to help each other out as we go.”

They’re also helping each other on the football field. That, too, was natural for Young.

“Football means quite a bit to me,” he said. “I started playing it around my sixth or seventh grade year. It’s something I’ve always cared about.”

His size, listed at 5-foot-6 and 138 pounds, does not fully describe his value to the team. He’s been pencilled in as a running back, he’s in the running for defensive back, and he may return kicks or punts.

He said, “I like the runs; I like the offensive positions, but I also like defense quite a bit, too. Anything that moves pretty fast, I enjoy it.”

“The team has sped up everything. Our line is looking really good. All our skill players are. Everything is picking up a whole lot.”

The increased tempo, he said, is “going to be really good for us. We’re going to be really in shape. It’s going to be a good season, I think.”

The running goes along with his springtime sport, competing in track. He’s made the state track and field meet for the last three years and will be gunning for a fourth.

“It keeps me in great shape,” he said. “I’ve been to states the last three years. I plan on trying to see if I can get a track scholarship off of it.”

He hasn’t decided on his college yet, but his thoughts now are leaning toward Liberty University or West Virginia University.

He will also draw attention for his academic ability. The West Virginia Education Association named him the “top rising junior” at James Monroe High School a year ago. Teammates seek him out for help with their studies.

His cumulative grade point average in high school is a 4.3, he said.

To do that and play sports “takes a lot of time and effort,” he said. “You’ve got to stay focused in class, but you’ve also got to have time outside for sports and everything. You’ve got to really care about both of them in order to do that.”

He said about his favorite subjects, “It’d probably be math or science, one of those. ... I really like solving problems and working things out.”

With his last prep football season about to begin, he said, “I’m excited for it, but I’m kind of dreading it starting, ’cause I know it’s going to go by really quick once it starts.”

“Me and a couple of my other friends have been talking about it. We’re going to give God all the honor and glory and see what happens as we go through the season.”

That’s another important dimension for Young. He said, “I’m one of the leaders of FCA (the school’s chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes). I’m actually getting ready to start my own youth service down at Lindside (United Methodist Church).”

He and the other seven seniors on the football team are trying to infuse more peer leadership into the Mavericks this season.

“This year, I’ve kind of committed to being a role model to the younger guys,” he said. “They look at us and they try to copy what we do. If you (present) a bad role model, if you be a bad example, they’re going to follow it.”

“In the last three or four years, leadership has lacked on this team, so we’re trying to pick that up this year.”

“We’ve got a small group, but it’s a good group,” he said.

— Contact Tom Bone at

tbone@bdtonline.com

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