In a season where his team is replacing seven skill position players, Clairton (PA) Thomas Jefferson linebacker Chase Winovich is doing his part to fill in the holes.
"Right now, I'm on punt return, kickoff return, playing quarterback for a running team and still starting at linebacker," Winovich said. "I sometimes have to slow down a bit because I'm not the type of player to take plays off."
Down early in the third quarter, the 6'4"/215 athlete busted off an 80 yard touchdown run that eventually propelled his Jaguars to victory. Making an impact in the second half was something Winovich went into the locker room knowing they needed to do. He ended the game with the 80 yard TD, a 40 yard TD pass, eight tackles and a sack.
"It was all about digging down," he said. "It was really hot early in the game, and it was hard to play on all sides of the ball, but once we got to halftime, I knew that we needed to come out strong if we were going to win. I wasn't going to let my team lose. You get that feeling that they'd have to drag you off the field before you stopped, you know? That's just the way I've always played the game."
Winovich watched his future team on Saturday, and was particularly impressed with what the players at his position had to offer.
"I thought Cam (Gordon) played a really great game," Winovich said. "I like how the SAM position is a focal point of their defense. I think it's a position that a lot of players aren't capable of playing because there's a lot of pressure that comes with it. Playing well under pressure is something I pride myself on and knowing that they use their SAMs in so many different situations is something I'm really looking forward to."
Commit Stat Recap
QB Wilton Speight: 15-19; 342, four passing TD, one rushing TD; 42-0 victory
WR Moe Ways: 6 catches, 175 yds, TD
WR Fredd Canteen: N/A in win over Banneker (GA), 55-12
WR Drake Harris: Injured
TE Ian Bunting: Loss to Bolingbrook, 17-6.
CB Brandon Watson: 3 yd fumble return for TD
LB Chase Winovich: 8 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble; 80 yard TD run; 40 yard TD pass
DE Lawrence Marshall: 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks (approximate)
LB Jared Wangler: 13 tackles, three receptions
LB Michael Ferns: Stats not released
DT Bryan Mone: Stats not released
DT Brady Pallante: 13 tackles
LB Noah Furbush: Stats not released
OL Mason Cole: No OL stats
DID NOT PLAY: Jabrill Peppers, Juwann Bushell-Beatty
George Campbell: 1 catch, 70 yards; six tackles, one sack; played one half
Tyree Kinnel: Three tackles, one 30 yard KO return; played one half
Shaun Crawford: 7 tackles; 2 carries, 23 yards; 1 PAT block, 1 Punt block
OL Jon Runyan Jr.: No OL stats
K Andrew David: No stats released
Da'Shawn Hand: 12 tackles, three sacks
Malik McDowell (estimated): 10 tackles, six for a loss, two sacks
2015 (player pages linked to names):
LB Justin Hilliard: Four tackles, sack, FF, FR
DE Jashon Cornell: Four sacks, four tackles in one half
LB Malik Jefferson: Eight tackles in one half
RB Mike Weber: 130 total yards, two touchdowns
DE Joshua Alabi: Four tackles, 1/2 sack
RB Martell Pettaway: 24 carries, 257 yards, 3 TDs
WR Desmond Fitzpatrick: 4 catches, 90 yards, all in the first half
RB Antonio Williams: 15 carries, 125 yards, one touchdown
RB Robert Washington: 22 carries, 154, four TDs (played defending state champions)
WR Connor O'Donnell: 5 receptions, 124 yards
TE/DE Isaac Nauta: Four catches, 80 yards; 8 tackles
QB Messiah DeWeaver: Two TD passes; didn't have exact passing stats
RB Kentrail Moran: 94 yards, one TD