11/19/09 — Tigers' Bostic steps into role

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Tigers' Bostic steps into role

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on November 19, 2009 1:46 PM

Understudy to three quality, all-conference linebackers last season, James Kenan senior Kyle Bostic took plenty of mental notes.

And watched Alex Monk, Josh Hicks and Darius Heslip constantly make plays and wreak havoc on opposing offenses. A 5-foot-9, 170-pounder, Bostic learned to read defenses properly, understand his gap assignments and to give maximum effort on every play.

"We had a lot of experience last year and I was one of the younger guys," said Bostic before practice Tuesday afternoon. "I'm one of the main leaders on defense (and) the coaches talked with me about setting an example for the other linebackers. (Alex, Josh, Darius) just taught you how to go.

"When they came to play, they played. When you have a player (like them) who gives 100 percent and goes hard every play, that's something they definitely taught me."

The trio taught him well.

Alternating between middle and inside linebacker this season, Bostic is averaging 12.8 stops a game and has recovered three fumbles for the Tigers. He and his defensive mates, who have gained immeasurable confidence the past month, face a stern test Friday evening.

James Kenan (7-5 overall) travels to top-seeded and unbeaten Southwest Onslow in second-round action of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-AA (large-school) football playoffs.

The Stallions (12-0) run the misdirection, straight-T formation which has led to seven 40-point outings this season. Southwest has scored 59 or more points in its last three contests, including 64 against Union last week.

"It's nothing fancy. They block and they can run," said Tigers head coach Ken Avent Jr. "They go off tackle pretty good, run some counters and really haven't had to throw it a lot. It's going to be a challenge and we're looking forward to it.

"A good matchup we think."

Bostic, senior Kendric Faison (71 tackles) and Dontrill Hyman (74 tackles) spearhead a Tiger defense that has surrendered five touchdowns in its last 12 quarters of action. Hyman was moved to the linebacking corps to help give some size and speed, and prevent the opponent from breaking past the second level on offense.

"Kendric can play," smiled Bostic. "He has size and speed, which helps him out a lot. We can see the plays before they happen and know where we need to be. We lost our top guys (last season), so everybody was doubting our defense this year somewhat.

"We're not as big as we were last year. The last few games we've been getting it done, which has really helped our momentum and our confidence."

Kenan must play disciplined defense, cover the gap assignments and prevent the Stallions from galloping downfield. Opponents this season have shown the ability to gain significant yardage and chew time off the clock, but the Tigers have made big plays at key times.

"They have some pretty good running backs who can fly," said Bostic. "We have to stop them before they get started. Hopefully, we can shut down their offense and our offense can score."