Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Mesquite Poteet's Lane Novy, others shift positions for good of their teams in 2013
Mesquite Poteet looks a lot like last year’s team, with a high-scoring, balanced offense and a stingy defense.
But look closer and you’ll find some big differences.
Quarterback Lane Novy was a linebacker last year, and cornerback James Swindle was the team’s top running back. Safety Nathaniel Gaines and cornerback Verkedric Vaughns were formerly receivers, and defensive lineman Conrad Carbo moved over from the offensive line.
It was a musical-chairs off-season for Poteet (5-0, 2-0 in District 10-4A), which is No. 2 in the Class 4A area rankings. The Pirates play at No. 6 Highland Park (4-1, 2-0) on Friday in a matchup that could decide the district title.
“As a coach, you want to win games and have the best product out there,” said Poteet coach Kody Groves. “You don’t need any of your best players sitting on the bench.”
That’s often why players are moved from one position to another, and some of the area’s top state contenders are stronger because of players willing to switch.
At Cedar Hill (3-2, 1-1 in 7-5A), which is No. 4 in the 5A area rankings, linebacker Doveon Dillard was a running back through his sophomore year. But Cedar Hill is loaded with backs, so the senior is now at linebacker.
“He understands that you’ve got to be unselfish,” Cedar Hill coach Joey McGuire said.
Southlake Carroll senior Ian Moss has the same understanding. Moss was a defensive end and linebacker last season, but the Dragons (4-1, 2-0 in 4-5A) needed help on the offensive line. Moss now starts at right guard for Carroll, which is No. 3 in the area 5A rankings.
At Coppell (3-1), which is No. 6 in the 5A area rankings and opens District 5-5A play this week, senior John Herubin is getting more comfortable at defensive end. He was an all-district selection at inside linebacker last year and expected to play that position until a few days into spring practice, when he got called into coach Joe McBride’s office.
“I was really surprised. After last year, I was really ready to play linebacker and I know the position inside and out,” Herubin said. “But I knew it was best for the team, and after that, I just committed fully to it.”
McBride said he hated to move Herubin from a position he knew well. But McBride talked to some college coaches, and they said Herubin’s size (6-3, 240) might make him a better prospect at defensive end. That made the decision easier.
“It almost gutted me to move him from inside linebacker, because he was so good there,” McBride said. “I told him we needed him on the defensive line so we can get our best 11 on the field.”
Getting the best 22 on the field — offense and defense — gives a team the best chance to win. The players who make it possible by learning a new position earn a special spot in a coach’s heart.
Groves knew his players would handle it well, especially as they contributed to another strong Poteet team.
“All those guys are on our leadership council, and they’re all very selfless,” Groves said. “We’ve been really impressed with those kids.”
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