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Versatile Casey Minor wins Howley Award because the state’s high linebacker

FAIRMONT — Whereas he made his title because the quarterback for his workforce’s offense, North Marion Excessive’s Casey Minor made an much more vital affect on protection as a linebacker.

It was due to his play within the entrance seven that the West Virginia Sports activities Writers Affiliation named him the recipient of the 2023 Howley Award for the very best linebacker within the state.

“Being within the high linebackers within the state, that’s a very good accomplishment for me,” Minor stated. “We didn’t get what we needed. We needed to win the state championship, however this undoubtedly means rather a lot. That’s large.”

The namesake of the award, Chuck Howley, performed soccer at Warwood Faculty in Wheeling and West Virginia College. The Chicago Bears first-round draft choose in 1958, Howley performed most of his profession with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s the one Tremendous Bowl MVP from the dropping workforce and was inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 2023.

Minor, a senior, led the Huskies to the highest seed within the Class AA playoffs. After wins over Lincoln, Herbert Hoover and Weir, Minor and North Marion performed Fairmont Senior in a report title sport at Wheeling Island, a failed two-point conversion wanting the state title 49-48.

On the finish of a 13-game season, Minor compiled 52.5 solo tackles and 59 assisted tackles for a mixed 111.5 complete tackles. In response to his head coach, Daran Hays, Minor didn’t play as a linebacker for 3 video games, that means in 10 video games he averaged 11.2 tackles per sport.

“The Sports activities Writers Affiliation was nonetheless educated sufficient to see him play and perceive how good he’s with out essentially the statistical backing due to these three missed video games, I feel that speaks volumes to the people who choose the awards as nicely,” Hays stated. “I’m very grateful they had been in a position to view it on the attention check versus sheerly strictly on numbers.”

Hays referred to as Minor a participant who can do something and every little thing he’s requested to, whether or not or not it’s enjoying quarterback, linebacker, run blocker, return protection and even lengthy snapper, a testomony to the good participant he’s.

As a linebacker particularly, Hays stated Minor has an awesome understanding of tips on how to play the place. In response to Hays, some could also be afraid to have the beginning quarterback play linebacker, however Hays believes Minor’s expertise enjoying quarterback made him a greater linebacker.

“He’s finished an awesome job of understanding his keys and being in the precise spot, understanding the place he’s supposed to suit, understanding when he’s presupposed to blitz from distance or blitz from up on the road,” Hays stated. “He’s simply acquired an awesome understanding of what different offenses are attempting to do, and I feel loads of it stems from enjoying quarterback.

“I feel this (award) is basically good for him as a result of there are occasions that he acquired misplaced by way of how good of a linebacker he was as a result of he was most likely for our workforce extra vital to play quarterback.”

Minor acknowledges the significance of enjoying linebacker on protection, and he believes it prepares him for enjoying soccer on the faculty stage.

“I feel that was most vital for me,” Minor stated. “I’m going to play in faculty, and I’ll most likely play protection in faculty. I feel that’s good and exhibits folks what I can do on protection as nicely, not simply on offense.”

Minor’s affect on the workforce goes additional than simply the enjoying subject. He helped first-year linebackers coach Grant Elliott coach the place group when practices started to know what drills to run and tips on how to coach by means of phrases.

Elliott additionally coached the center college workforce Minor performed on and is aware of the veteran linebacker nicely. To him, Minor could be very deserving of the award, and it exhibits in his management.

“He’s top-of-the-line observe gamers I’ve ever seen in my quick expertise teaching,” Elliott stated. “He sprints all the way down to that aspect of the sector for protection, he’s the primary man on-line, he’s able to go. He’s serving to coach up these different youngsters, he’s a verbal chief and in addition main by instance. He focuses on each little element and all the time tries to get it proper.”

Maybe most vital to Minor’s success and North Marion’s success this season was the workforce itself. Minor credit his teammates for serving to him attain the extent wanted to win the award.

“I couldn’t have finished it with out my workforce,” Minor stated. “They’re nice guys to be with. Everyone builds off of one another, and that’s how I really feel.”

Minor will probably be acknowledged on the 77th annual Victory Awards Dinner on Could 5, 2024 at River Metropolis in Wheeling.

Different gamers who acquired votes for the Howley Award embrace Fairmont Senior’s Dylan Ours, Greenbrier West’s Ethan Holliday, Cabell Midland’s Cannon Lewis, Morgantown’s Jaylon Hill, Chapmanville Regional’s Elijah Pridemore and Williamstown’s Lynken Pleasure.

By Colin Rhodes/For the WVSWA