No one, not even Eric Fox, knew what was in store for Brunswick’s football team this season.
Heading into 2010, the Blue Devils knew they had a strong one-two punch in Tevin Jackson and Nick Roberts on offense and a monster of a defender in the linebacker/ strong safety Fox. But when Roberts went down early with an injury and Jackson had to sit out a five-game suspension, Fox was forced into action on offense.
To say the 5-foot-9, 165-pound senior has produced isn’t doing him justice.
“Eric has been our go-to guy with Tevin being gone and also when Nick has been banged up,” Brunswick coach Luke Beal said.
“He’s been the guy who really has come through for us, especially the Strongsville game and some other key games.
“He’s labored behind the scenes a little bit, but he’s really had a great year for us running the football.”
Fox has gone from a third option to a vital cog in Brunswick’s offense as it prepares to play Medina tonight. He has 456 yards on just 92 carries and has found the end zone eight times.
No game was more impressive than Brunswick’s 36-33 win over Strongsville in Week 8. In that one, Fox willed the Blue Devils to the win, rushing for 177 yards on 30 carries with three scores.
It kept Brunswick in the playoff chase and was a coming out of sorts for the versatile Blue Devil.
“At the outset, we really expected him to be just a defensive player,” Beal said.
“He’s been a tremendous contributor, offensively. He’ll give you the big plays and gut out the tough yards when you need them.
“He surprised us early in the season, in terms of how he runs the ball. He hasn’t been a surprise since because you always know what you’re going to get with Eric. With him, it’s a matter of heart. He plays with great emotion. His motor’s always running.”
Therein lays the secret to Fox’s success. While others give up on a play, the senior is always moving.
Whether it’s pushing the pile backward on defense or churning for extra yards, Fox believes any time his number is called, he should produce.
It’s led to a chunk of extra yards offensively and a slew of bruises on opposing runners defensively.
“My size helps me a bit,” Fox said. “People don’t expect me to do as good as I do. I use it to my advantage a little bit to show them up.
“I fight for every single yard and do whatever I can.
You have to come ready to play. You can’t have good plays every once in a while.
It’s your time right now. You have to do whatever you can. I take advantage every time I’m out there.”
It hasn’t gone unnoticed with Beal.
Even when Fox, who also plays special teams, isn’t in the game, he’s involved.
His screams can be heard on the sideline as the Blue Devils push to get the ball back or are in the midst of putting together a scoring drive.
“When he’s running the ball well, it sparks the whole team,” Beal said. “When he makes a play on defense, it sparks the whole team.
“Eric is definitely a guy with a great motor. The enthusiasm he has is definitely contagious.”
With Jackson back this week, Fox will likely see more time on defense. That’s not to say the senior won’t get his share of touches on offense.
He’s proven worthy of playing time no matter what.
“With Tevin back, we have to get the ball to Tevin, we have to get the ball to Eric, we have to get the ball to Nick,” Beal said. “It’s a good problem to have, but Eric’s the one who always gives you the tough yards.”
Even when you’re not expecting it.
Contact Brad Bournival at email@example.com.