Teays Physical Therapy Center Inc. and The Putnam Herald are pleased to present this week's male Gamer of the Week to junior Ethan Payne of the Poca High School football team.
The Poca Dots have started off the 2019 football with a bang, winning 48-28 in week 1 against nearby rivals Nitro and 48-7 in a week 2 drubbing of Chapmanville. Poca's success has been in no small part due to junior running back Ethan Payne.
Payne has started the season running just about anywhere he wants to go. A 13-carry, 294-yard, 4-TD performance in 3 quarters of playing time against Nitro was then bested by a 12-carry, 304-yard, 5-TD rushing day this past week against Chapmanville. If you haven't done the math, that's 25 carries for 598 yards (23.92 yards/carry) and 9 touchdowns through only two games.
Payne is coming off an injury in his sophomore season that cut his season short, and he couldn't wait to get back on the field at full strength.
"All I could think about since the injury was how I've just got to get back. You don't realize how much you miss it until it's taken away from you," stated Ethan.
He has been placed on numerous preseason watch lists for state-wide awards, such as the Kennedy Award, and when asked how that makes him feel heading into the season, he responded, "It's an honor. It's humbling to be thought of in that high of a manner. It keeps me working to go out there and live up to the expectations people have of me."
Head Coach Seth Ramsey stated, "With Payne on the field, Poca is a much better football team. Just from a morale standpoint, our guys love having him on the field and seem to feel more confident when he's out there. It's great to have him out there with us after him missing the last half of the year last year."
Ramsey also echoed Payne's remarks about the team's goals for the season, "We want to get better each week and improve on certain things from each game that we've taken away. Obviously over the course of the season we hope to make it back to the state playoffs and see how close we can come to winning the whole thing. This year it's about taking that next step and not just being complacent to be in the playoffs."
Payne has been playing football since he was 4 years old and notes that he's truly passionate about it. "I'm not really sure what it is exactly, but I just love playing. The lights, the crowd, the contact, the team atmosphere. I just love it all."
Payne's favorite player to watch and emulate is Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers. He carries a 3.8 GPA and is also a prominent member of the baseball team and is involved in student council. He would like to pursue a career in criminal justice once he moves on to college.
Please look for other local high school athletes to be named in next week's male Gamer of the Week Sponsored by Teays Physical Therapy Center, Inc. and The Putnam Herald.
Jonah Skiles, MBA, is the Director of Fitness Operations at Teays Physical Therapy Center and Potential Plus.