Gamers of the Week

Male Gamer of the Week – Payton Lunsford of Hurricane High School

Teays Physical Therapy Center, Inc. & The Putnam Herald are pleased to present this week’s Male Gamer of the Week award to, Payton Lunsford, Junior, Hurricane High School.

By Casey Fallon, Potential Plus Director

A great start to the 2016 season put the Redskins in prime position to make a return to the playoffs.  After a few difficult matchups, Hurricane finally punched their ticket to the post-season with a big win over St. Albans.  Hurricane downed the Red Dragons by a score of 42-14 in the final regular season game.

In a game that featured a lot of offense for Hurricane, Fullback Payton Lunsford led the way on the ground with 127 yards rushing even though he only had 8 carries.  He also added in a touchdown, his 4th of the year, to cap off his stellar night.  Not only did Payton help the Redskins control the game on offense, he was a major contributor on defense as well.  He recorded 7 tackles and a tackle for loss from his linebacker position, and provided the motivation to give Hurricane a chance in the state tournament.  This may have been the most complete team for head coach Jeremy Taylor who praised Payton, “127 yards and having an impact on defense like that, we know we can count on him”.  Hurricane’s offensive line allowed 3 runners to go over one hundred yards rushing, and gave plenty of time to allow solid quarterback play.  Efficient offensive play with a defense that did not yield to St. Albans will allow you to win fairly easily.

“Our goal at the beginning of the year was to get to the playoffs.  We knew this was basically one and done”, says Lunsford.  Hurricane snuck in to the playoffs as the 12 seed and will face off against University in Morgantown.  “Well we didn’t play them this year so it will be just about watching a lot of film and getting used to what they do, finding some tendencies”, says Payton.

The offense was impressive during the win, but the game could have been quite different had the Redskin defense not been able to force St. Albans to end some promising drives with no points.  Payton, who was instrumental in the stout team defense said, “We managed to stop them on a fourth down play, we really just got tired of them driving because we knew we are better.”  Hurricane also held firm after St. Albans drove into the red zone again but ultimately forced a field goal which was missed.

Hurricane’s unrelenting ground game began to chew up valuable time in the second half.  After they built a comfortable lead, Payton, and fellow backs Bobbie McDougale and Christian Hill went to work behind an offensive line that seems to be peaking at the right time.  “The line played awesome,” says Payton, “they were man-handling St. Albans defense.”

Not only is Payton finishing off an excellent football season, and preparing for wrestling, he is still recording a 3.4 GPA.   The junior is working hard on securing his future in the sport saying, “I don’t really know where I want to go yet, I guess if someone wants me to play then that’s where I’ll go.”  He credits his parents Casey and Stephanie for helping him attend camps and get the most out of his opportunities

While it would be an upset if Hurricane can steal one from fifth ranked University, both Payton and Jeremy Taylor have some optimism.  “We know how to play well, we have beaten some good teams this year so we know it’s there for us.  It’s just up to us to put it all together now,” said Lunsford.