Morning Huddle: Tiny football town lands giant defensive coordinator


JJ’s Morning Huddle: A daily dose of News, Notes & Nuggets from around the state

• Clermont paper’s Sportsman/Sportswoman of Year announced
• The plight of a preferred walk-on
• Lebron is now reviled
• Tiny football town lands giant defensive coordinator

Sportsman/Sportswoman: “I will never forget my time at Batavia and I’m really glad I decided to go there,” says OL Jeff Elam (Batavia) after learning he was named the Community Journal Clermont Sportsman of the Year. “My dream of playing college football came true and I feel like I owe a lot of that to (Batavia head coach Ron Ogden and his coaching staff).” The Division IV Offensive Lineman of the Year during the fall of 2009 is also a regular volunteer at youth sports camps. He captained the wrestling team and maintained a 3.9 GPA. Morgan Sperry of Amelia High earning the Community Journal Celermont Sportswoman of the Year. “It feels amazing,” she said. “It makes all the hard work worth it, and it was just nice to know I even got my name in there (among the candidates).” Sperry played four years of volleyball at Amelia, but her main sport was basketball where she was fourth in the conference in scoring, averaging 15.2 points per game. She also led the team in rebounds and assists.

Akron bound: After putting together a spectacular football season at Dresden’s Tri-Valley High, Clay Cameron spent months waiting on a scholarship offer. “It was kind of frustrating at first, but it gives me a little extra incentive,” Cameron tells the Zanesville Times Recorder. “Some people didn’t think I was good enough, so it makes me want to prove those people wrong. I was just waiting and waiting and nothing ever came, so I just took the next best thing.” The next best thing was being a preferred walk-on at Akron where he’ll join his former teammate Adam Bice, who plays on the offensive line with the Zips. “The process in general has been frustrating,” says Cameron’s coach Justin Buttermore. “The process has turned more toward numbers than film review with college coaches. It’s all about how tall you are and how fast you are, and sometimes I think they neglect the film to see if the guy is a football player.” Still, Cameron’s happy enough. “I was probably going to go there either way, whether it was preferred or not, but that was just cream on the top I guess,” he says.

Lebron = reviled: One of the starkest images from “The Decision” on ESPN last night, was the footage of a Lebron James jersey burning in the street. It rolled in minutes after James had announced he was going to leave his hometown for Southbeach where he’d play with the Miami Heat. “James is the local legend who severed his ties with the area and now becomes as reviled as any sports figure other than Art Modell,” writes Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Bill Livingston. “What a surprise that he became monstrously self-centered. … He had before invoked all the connotations of home, only to leave it. He had before summoned an image of family, only to reject it. He had before cherished loyalty, only to betray it. He wears “Family” and “Loyalty” tattoos on his torso. Dermabrasion, please. The sooner, the better.” It’ll be fun, no doubt to watch James play alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, but there will still be something hollow about it. And we’re certain that the ESPN cameras will be rolling when the Miami Heat visit Cleveland. “We’re going to have to go back there twice a year and hopefully the fans will be respectful but at the same time I don’t expect that to be,” James said last night. “But I gave a lot to that organization, my talents, my seven years. I tried to take them to places where they had never been before.” He tried, yes, but ultimately admitted defeat.

Former Bengal lands job at Bellevue: Nate Webster, a nine-year NFL veteran and former Bengals linebacker, has taken a coaching spot as the defensive coordinator at a tiny Kentucky school on the banks of the Ohio River. “He’s an exceptional coach and the kids love him,” Bellevue’s head coach Russ Shearer told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “The guy has a Super Bowl ring. … I will say this though. I love Nate Webster as a coach, but I hope he’s not coaching for me next year. He has too much talent and knowledge to be coaching with us right now. But we’re happy to have him.” With aspirations to coach, it appears Webster was looking for a way to get his foot in the coaching door. Indeed, everyone has to start somewhere.

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