ZACH DUVALL COMES UP BIG IN THE WIN AGAINST WILDCATS
It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog,” said Mark Twain. At five foot, seven inches, and one hundred sixty six pounds senior Zach Duvall has more than proven that one doesn’t have to be the biggest, strongest, or even fastest to play the game of football, let alone compete in a sport.
Head Coach Josh Jaggers describes Duvall. “Physically he’s a prime example of what living in the weight room during the off-season can do for a player. It’s no secret that he’s not the biggest or fastest on the field and far from it, but he’s so strong and explosive that it makes him so hard to block. Mentally I think just from becoming more football savvy with experience. Playing at inside linebacker and nose guard- when you are in the thick of things, you have to be a student of the game and he’s become just that from a defensive standpoint.”
Case in point, just last Monday Duvall got the word from the coaching staff that he would be moving from linebacker to defensive nose guard, a position typically reserved for larger football players.
Jaggers explains the reason for the position change. “He has started at Inside Linebacker for us for most of the year, but we have since also switched him to playing at nose guard where we feel and I think he now feels might be his best spot. We wanted to start him there all along, but our depth at ILB was so slim that we didn’t have any choice but to start him there. As the season has gone on, we’ve had some guys step up their play there to where we can now put him down at Nose and he has become a terror. He had the game of his life vs Edmonson County with 16 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 sacks and 2 TFL’s. (Tackles for loss).”
Duvall’s reaction? “I hadn’t played nose since Middle School, so when I he (Jaggers) told me I was really surprised, and honestly at first I took at as a demotion, and just tried to make the most of it. As the week went on, I realized that was where I needed to be in order to cause damage to the other team, so I just went into the game knowing I had to give my all to show everyone I could get the job done. I am thankful for the opportunity to move around and realize what positions I am better at to benefit the team.”
Teammate Russell Young who played directly behind Duvall Friday night at Edmonson County admits “having Zach play down over the center was great to see. He is always going full tilt and Friday night was big for him and one of the main reasons we got the win.”
“He was all over the field Friday night,” eludes teammate Chase Baker. “He certainly used his speed to get in the backfield and disrupt the play. He was able to find the gaps and explode through them.”
Duvall’s position coach Scott Mooney was not surprised of his performance. “Zach is a great young man. Smart, hardworking, football player. He is undersized but has built up his strength, speed, and agility in our off season training. Zach has really been a leader on our team through his conscientious attitude, his work ethic, and his practice habits. Just this last week he was asked to move from linebacker to nose guard and he took it on to help his team and he took it on as a challenge to smaller players and he responded with a great game where he played both positions. Zach is a mighty mite!”
Assistant Coach Maceo Arnette respects Duvall’s commitment to the Hawks Football program over the years. “Zach is the ultimate team player. He does whatever is asked of during practice as well as in games. He’s definitely our ‘Swiss army knife.’ His all-out team first attitude is what makes him a leader.”
Young adds, “Playing with Zach has been quite the experience. He is always 100 mph in the game, and is always around the ball. He has been very dedicated to playing football. Off the field he is not always so serious, and has a funny side that a lot of the team sees.”
When asked what separates Duvall from his peers, Jaggers sums it up. “His fight and aggressiveness. So many people think you have to be big to play this game and you don’t. Does size help? Absolutely. What sport does size not help? All of them. But he’s prime proof that if you have some ability, smarts, work ethic and an aggressive nature that you can play football and be dang good at it. There is a spot for you on the field with all of the positions if you possess those qualities.”