November 24, 2009 7:33:00 AM
Adam Minichino - firstname.lastname@example.org
REFORM, Ala. -- Quinton Sturdivant tries to do his job the right way every time.
It might sound simple, but with so many things to juggle from his strong-side linebacker position, Sturdivant makes it look easy.
"He has been solid and consistent his entire career here," Pickens County coach Scott Marchant said. "He doesn''t take plays off."
Sturdivant showed just how much of an impact he can make on a game last week when he had an interception return for a touchdown, 15 tackles, a forced fumble, and a sack in Pickens County''s 19-12 victory against Reeltown in the quarterfinals of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 2A playoffs.
For his efforts, Sturdivant is The Commercial Dispatch Prep Player of the Week.
"Two years ago, we went to Leroy and got put out in the first round," Sturdivant said. "We got beat pretty bad, so this year I wanted to go down with a bang and I really wanted to beat Leroy. I went out there and did all I could. I played as hard as I could and I had my defensive teammates to back me up."
Marchant said Sturdivant, a 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, has played strong-side linebacker for the past three years. He said Sturdivant helped the Tornadoes (12-1) execute a scheme that blitzed more than usual against Leroy. When it came time to drop back into coverage, Marchant said Sturdivant did a great job there, too.
"He has a lot of heart," said Marchant, whose team will play at 7 p.m. Friday at Reeltown in the Class 2A semifinals. "He is a great athlete. He plays with a lot of tenacity and fire. He understands his job is important, and he knows he has an important task to do and he goes out and does it. He loves the game."
A 36-yard interception return by Sturdivant helped Pickens County tie the score 6-6 with 4 minutes, 2 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Dominique Jones added two more touchdowns to help the Tornadoes keep their season alive.
Sturdivant said he read the quarterback''s eyes. Pickens County had worked in practice all week to try to eliminate the short-passing game, and the studying and work paid off on that play.
"When we sit and watch film I try to observe all I can," Sturdivant said. "At practice, I try to pay attention as much as I can. It helped us out a lot. I may be a defensive player, but that first interception and me taking it to the house and scoring really got us going."
Sturdivant led a spirited defensive effort that had 12 sacks. He said speed is his biggest asset, especially when it comes to trying to handle bigger offensive linemen. The quickness also helps when it''s time for him to shadow receivers.
Marchant, who served as defensive coordinator to coach Patrick Plott last season before taking over as coach this season, said Sturdivant has gotten better each year. He said he has become a better student of the game and leader by example.
"He is really the captain of the defense," Marchant said. "Vocal leaders are sometimes overemphasized. I like the guy who is going to lead by example by doing the job the right way every time and being disciplined on and off the field. That is the kind of leader I am looking for."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.