After Elgin’s home football games, the local McDonald’s morphs into a hangout for the Wildcat players and their classmates, but Colin Snell’s preferred post-game destination is his home.
“After a game, I’m pretty exhausted. I usually want to go home and just sleep,” Snell said. “Getting out of the locker room, it even takes me a while. Getting my clothes off is even a struggle when I’m that tired.”
Snell has a reason to be dead tired after Elgin’s football games. He and his twin brother, Kyle, are two of the 10 Wildcats who have logged significant playing time both on offense and defense for Elgin’s undefeated team.
The Snell twins, juniors who both play as linebackers and wide receivers, are the only Wildcats who start on both offense and defense. Elgin coach Wade Griffin estimated Tuesday that the the twins are on the field for about 80 percent of the team’s snaps. They will be plenty busy Thursday night, when Elgin (5-0) faces fellow unbeaten Manor in a District 17-4A showdown at Wildcat Stadium.
Senior running back Da’Trean Simmons, who has rushed for 13 touchdowns, and wide receiver Zach Evans start on offense and make part-time appearances in Elgin’s secondary. Defensive backs Anthony Nash, DeKovin Vincent and Douglas Irby and defensive lineman Titus Livingston also see some snaps on offense.
Juniors Bruce Dodd and Jordan Smith don’t start for the Wildcats, but both players are involved in Elgin’s offensive and defensive rotations.
“It’s pretty good, because we each know how to play both sides of the ball real good,” Nash said. “It keeps us knowing what’s coming at us and what to expect from other teams.”
Elgin’s dependence on two-way players started as a necessity for Griffin, who suited up only 28 varsity players during his 2011 debut season at the school. Elgin has 45 players on its 2013 varsity roster, but Griffin said his team still needs to show plenty of versatility.
“When we get our program to where we want to really get it as far as the number of kids, and we feel like we’re not the smallest guy on the block anymore, eventually we’ll get away from it,” Griffin said. “But right now, we’re still the smallest school in the district … we’re going to play the best ones who are available.”
Griffin’s two-way plan was partially inspired by Steve Gideon, the former head coach at Leander. Gideon, who retired after the 2010 season, was 67-30 in eight years with the Lions while using such standouts as his son, Blake, Jonathon Henderson and Mike Kernon on both offense and defense.
“If (Leander) could do it, we can do it,” Griffin said. “They won a bunch of games at (Class) 5A doing the same thing.”
Elgin has gone 19-9 in Griffin’s three seasons there, and the Wildcats’ offense has averaged 46.6 points per game while the defense has allowed 6.8.
Elgin works all of its players on both sides of the football during its up-tempo practices, and conditioning drills also help keep the two-way players in shape. Their knowledge of their dual positions also benefits them when they take the field.
“Just on defense, I can look at the offense and I know how I would do something on offense,” Kyle Snell said. “I can tell what’s probably going to develop, just by how he’s lining up and trying to block me because that’s how I would do it.”
Boosted by a number of two-way standouts, Elgin has risen to No. 7 in the Associated Press Class 4A state poll, but other area teams are blessed with these doubly talented threats:
Carson Bowen, sr., Marble Falls, WR/DB: In his first game back from a knee injury, Bowen recorded 16 tackles and nine receptions in a 51-34 loss to Cedar Park on Oct. 4.
Clarence Guidry, sr., Pflugerville, RB/DB: On offense, Guidry has rushed for 155 yards and three TDs; on defense, he has 15 tackles and five pass break-ups.
Chizi Ibezim, sr., St. Dominic Savio, OL/DL: This fall, Ibezim has recorded 27 pancake blocks and four tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Teddy Lowery, sr., Akins, RB/DB: Grabbed three interceptions in Akins’ season opener and led Eagles past Del Valle while filling in at quarterback, where he contributed to 297 yards of offense.
Brendan Moore, sr., Westwood, OL/DL: A Maryland-bound offensive lineman, Moore also has played at the defensive tackle and defensive end positions for the Warriors.
Blayne Parisher, sr., Burnet, WR/DB: A captain for the Bulldogs, Parisher has 28 catches this year, and he has played on defense and special teams, too.
Malcolm Postell, jr., St. Michael’s, RB/DE: Postell has rushed for 397 yards and four TDs, while also recording two sacks for the Crusaders’ defense.
Jo Jo Ramirez, sr., Florence, QB/DB: Only on the sideline during extra-point attempts, Ramirez leads the Buffaloes in all-purpose yards (386) and tackles (38).
McCade Rice, sr., Regents, WR/DB: Has logged 420 receiving yards for the undefeated Knights and also has nabbed five interceptions.
Riley Schaefer, sr., Thorndale, QB/DB: In addition to throwing 12 touchdown passes, Schaefer also has scored off a 56-yard interception return this fall.
Johnny Williams, sr., Travis, WR/DB: An all-district defensive back in 2012, Williams leads the Rebels with 27 catches and 468 receiving yards.
— Danny Davis
Chat about area high school football with Danny Davis and Rick Cantu, starting at 1 p.m. Thursday at statesman.com/hsfootball.
FRIDAY NIGHT SIGHTS
Cedar Ridge senior Paige Derry unwraps the responsibilities of being a student trainer in this week’s installment of ‘Friday Night Sights.’ C8