Diminutive Alston producing for Cougars
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on November 2, 2012 1:48 PM
Goldsboro's Karon Alston admits he has learned to accept getting overlooked on the football field because of his 5-foot-8, 144-pound frame.
Alston has always been one of the smallest players on any team, including when he played flag football as an eight-year-old. But his contributions on the field have been anything but tiny.
A versatile player with blazing speed, Alston has played a pivotal role in the Cougars' path to a 9-1 record and the Carolina 1-A Conference championship. The senior wide receiver, running back, cornerback and kick returner has scored a touchdown five different ways, intercepted four passes, recovered two fumbles, blocked a field goal and recorded 31 tackles.
"I'm a small guy, but I really try to be aggressive," Alston said. "I really just want to help the team win. Even though I'm a small guy and sometimes I get overlooked out there on the field, one of my favorite parts of football is the contact."
Alston first developed his knack as a multi-dimensional player at Dillard Middle School.
That's when he first caught the eye of Goldsboro head coach Eric Reid. Reid recalls watching Alston make plays as a kick returner, on offense and defense. He knew Alston had potential to be a difference maker on the high school level.
Reid's premonition about Alston proved to be true and his patience with Alston as a kick returner has paid off. Early in his varsity career, Alston struggled with decisiveness on kick returns and rather than hitting a hole at full speed he often tried to dance around tacklers. Through experience and guidance of the Cougars' coaching staff, Alston has developed into the area's premier return man.
Alston's 77-yard kickoff return helped Goldsboro escape with a 21-20 win at North Duplin last season. He has also returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns this season along with taking two interceptions back for scores.
"Early in Karon's career it was real nerve racking," Reid said. "We used to tell him to get the yards he could get and get down. Once he showed he was capable of taking it the house or reversing his field and following his blocks you take the reins off of him and let him run."
Alston has also made his presence felt offensively both as a running back and wide receiver. His speed makes him a difficult matchup for cornerbacks. When he lines up in the slot, he becomes an instant mismatch for linebackers and safeties.
Alston leads the Cougars with seven touchdown catches and is second on the team with 436 receiving yards. He also has three rushing touchdowns.
Defensively, Alston is part of a Goldsboro defense that has held opponents to fewer than 14 points per contest during the Cougars' current nine-game winning streak. Alston has accounted for four of Goldsboro's 16 interceptions while fully buying into defensive coordinator Mike Harper's system.
"Our motto this year is to be ball hawks," Alston said. "The last few years we have heard we can't defend the pass. Coach Harper has taught us with defense you can win games and we have all put our trust in him."
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