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Stop ball! Dos Palos linebacker Schofield named 2009 Defensive Player of the Year

Guess who?

It was a question the Dos Palos coaches asked countless times while watching game film this season.

The answer was almost always the same -- Kevin Schofield.

"We'd watch the game film and see a big play and somebody would ask who made that play," Dos Palos coach Mike Sparks said. "The answer was almost always, 'Guess who? It was Schofield.'

“We’d watch film and ask who caused that fumble? Guess who? It was Schofield.”

The junior linebacker always found himself around the ball.

Schofield finished with 149 tackles to go along with three sacks and an interception.

Schofield is our choice as the Sun-Star Football Defensive Player of the Year.

“We’ve had a lot of hard workers, but nobody has out-worked Kevin,” Sparks said. “He works hard in the classroom, the weight room and I’m sure he works hard to be a good son.

“He runs the ball in practice down field. We have to wait for him to get back.

He’s the first guy there on defense and he’s always encouraging other players.

“On top of that, he’s just tough. When an official sends him out of the game with a bloody nose or some other injury, he’s angry and wants to get right back in.”

Schofield’s impact on defense is even more amazing when you consider what he did on the offensive side of the ball.

Schofield fell just short of 2,000 yards rushing, finishing with 1,926 yards and 17 touchdowns on 305 carries.

“I like playing both offense and defense,” Schofield said. “I just like playing football.

“I like hitting people. I don’t really feel tired during the game. I feel it after the game when I’m in the locker room.”

Defense was almost a mental break for Schofield. When he’s playing tailback he has to think about the play, read the defense and read his blocks.

“When I’m on defense I just find the ball and go to it,” he said. “I just fly around and hit people. It’s fun to get angry and take your frustration out.”

He’s fun to watch.

“He does it all,” Sparks said. “He’s a good tackler, which is obvious because he led the team in tackles. He’s the kind of kid who runs to the ball. He’ll run through a crowd.

“He takes good angles and he wraps up. He doesn’t often miss a tackle.

“And he’s returning, which is about the best thing I can say about him.”

Schofield can’t wait to get back on the football field next year.

He hopes he’ll do well enough to draw interest from some colleges.

The only question is what position will he play?

“I’ll play where ever they want me to play,” Schofield said. “I think I’m probably too small to play linebacker in college. But I’ll play where ever I fit.”

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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