Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

September 19, 2012

Leggett runs to ‘Player of the Week’ honor

BLUEFIELD — Winning championships run in the Leggett family. Montel Leggett wants one of his own.

The Bluefield junior running back has two brothers — Morrisettie (’97) and Delonnie (’09) — and a cousin — Allen Walker (’05) — who have won state titles with the Beavers.

“I am just trying to keep the tradition alive,” Leggett said.

He’s doing his part to make it happen.

“I think if we practice like we can, if we practice hard and play hard we should have a good record and maybe be in the state championship,” Leggett said.

After a disappointing loss to Graham to start the season, the Beavers have won two straight, combining for 106 points over the last two games. Leggett has been a key reason for that resurgence, accumulating 360 yards and six touchdowns in wins over Princeton and Greenbrier East.

“I thought he stepped up to the plate and did a nice job both games,” Bluefield head coach Fred Simon said. “He ran hard, he blocked better and it looks like he is making an effort to get better each week and that makes me feel good.

“He has got nice speed and good power. He has things he needs to work on, but as long as he does what we talked about a second ago he is fine.”

Simon felt really good last Friday when the Beavers overcame a 13-0 first quarter deficit to rout the Spartans 54-19, with Leggett running for 156 yards on just 10 carries, and he also scored three touchdowns, including from 30 yards in the second quarter and 75 and 8 after the break.

“It was mostly just good blocking, and I was able to see a hole and keep my feet moving and get extra yards and get to the end zone,” said the 5-foot-7, 185-pound Leggett, who overcomes his smallish statue to accumulate those yards. “You have just got to put up your knees and try not to let them bring you down easily.”

In a week full of stellar performances, Leggett’s stood out as the Pocahontas Coal Association/Bluefield Daily Telegraph Player of the Week, an award the junior also earned last season.

“It is always great to win this type of award just to let people know in the city what Bluefield can produce and how Bluefield football works,” Leggett said.

Bluefield (2-1), which will host Charlotte Latin on Friday at Mitchell Stadium, has defeated Princeton (54-42) and Greenbrier East, having rebounded from a season-opening 23-21 turnover-plagued loss to Graham.

“After we lost against Graham we just started practicing harder and kind of learning what we need to do as far as blocking and getting our plays right and getting in more conditioning and getting in better shape,” Leggett said.

The Beavers returned to work after that loss, and focused on becoming a better football team.

“We had a lot of turnovers, we had some fumbles, a muffed punt, we wasn’t really there, I guess we kind of underestimated them a little bit from the score of what we did last year,” Leggett said. “I think after the game we came to practice, we talked about it and we came together and we were able to get better over the last two weeks.”

It started against Princeton, with the Beavers building a 35-14 halftime lead, and then holding off the Tigers to avenge a 23-7 loss in 2011.

“It was mostly revenge from last year because we went there and lost by like 14 points, but we just had to show them how to really play Beaver football,” Leggett said.

They did it again last Friday, falling behind early, but then scoring 54 of the next 60 points to roll past the Class AAA Spartans.

“I think mostly we kind of doubted them in the first half, but at halftime we came together and really started playing together in unity,” Leggett said. “That really brought us back and we were able to put some big points up against them.”

Up next is Charlotte Latin, which defeated Bluefield 31-14 last season. This time the Hawks must travel to West Virginia, and Leggett is excited about the challenge ahead.

“I don’t think they are as good as they were last year, but from watching film they have a lot of quickness,” Leggett said.  “I don’t know about strength-wise, but all we have got to do is come out there and just lay the wood first and come out and play Beaver football.”

There was a time when Leggett was a little apprehensive about the physical part of football, but those day are over.

“I love to hit, I wasn’t really fond of hitting my first two years, but I realize if you block you can get everybody involved and everybody can put points up on the board, not just one or two people, but as a team,” Leggett said.

Leggett, who hopes to play at the next level, has run for 408 yards — for an 11.3 yard average — and seven touchdowns this season. Not that he pays much attention to the stats. Just the wins.

“I really don’t even think about the yardage. As long as I can help my team be victorious for that game I am happy,” Leggett said. “It is exciting every time I get into the end zone, but as long as it is credited to the team and helping the team put up points and be victorious for the week, then I am fine with it, anything to do to help the team win.”

After all, Leggett has a family tradition to continue.

—Contact Brian Woodson

at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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