Lin­coln Player Works All Over The Field

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

LIN­COLN — Noe Avel­laneda never played foot­ball be­fore sixth grade, but that all changed when he came to Lin­coln.

His cousin, Ge­orge Avel­laneda, one of the stal­wart block­ers up front paving the way for Tyler Cum­mings’ his­toric school record 415 yards on 34 car­ries with 6 rush­ing touch­downs dur­ing Lin­coln’s 41-21 Nov. 29, 2013, sec­ond-round play­off vic­tory at Malvern, per­suaded Noe to go out for foot­ball.

“Ge­orge, he’s my cousin, and his fam­ily is the rea­son why we moved here,” Noe said. “My dad and his dad told him to come down here and move to this state so we came.”

Noe’s fam­ily was liv­ing in Alabama when the de­ci­sion was made to re­lo­cate to Lin­coln. Upon ar­rival the fam­ily needed a place to live so they stayed with Ge­orge’s fam­ily for the first cou­ple of months. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the cousins and suc­cess Ge­orge ex­pe­ri­enced as part of Lin­coln’s 2013 team, which earned the school’s first-ever play­off win at home against Nashville (27-13) on Nov. 22, 2013, perked Noe’s in­ter­est.

“And he (Ge­orge) was ac­tu­ally the guy, who told me to come play foot­ball,” Noe said. “He told me to play foot­ball and he kind of taught me the way, things about it, and that’s where I re­ally got in­ter­ested in foot­ball. That’s where I ac­tu­ally wanted to come in and join the team and I told him, I said, ‘yes.’”

Ver­sa­tile Ath­lete

Just as he opened holes pow­er­ing Cum­mings’ suc­cess, Ge­orge Avel­laneda be­came a driv­ing force and in­spi­ra­tion for Noe to play foot­ball.

“I never played foot­ball in my life un­til I got here,” Noe said. “We talked about it and talked about it. He told me what po­si­tion he played, and he told me what he had to do; but he also told me about the other po­si­tions. He told me what quar­ter­backs do, what running backs do, what re­ceivers do. He pretty much ex­plained the whole game to me and that’s what helped me out to move me to play foot­ball.”

The Lin­coln sopho­more is ver­sa­tile enough to play a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions, at 5-8, 180 pounds, help­ing the Wolves of­fense. He has lined up at tail­back, slot re­ceiver or even quar­ter­back in a Lin­coln uni­form, plus han­dles the place-kick­ing du­ties.

Quar­ter­back In­ter­est

As Ge­orge told foot­ball sto­ries Noe be­came in­ter­ested in play­ing quar­ter­back.

“Quar­ter­back, I hon­estly, like play­ing quar­ter­back,” Noe said. “Quar­ter­back has al­ways been my No. 1 thing in foot­ball ever since I got taught po­si­tions. And I al­ways felt I was a quar­ter­back, but they put me at running back (in ju­nior high) and that’s fine; but they put me at sec­ond-string quar­ter­back and I was fine with that. Quar­ter­back is some­thing that I’ve re­ally wanted to play and I’ve al­ways wanted to play quar­ter­back. Tyler Brewer is a great quar­ter­back, and I’m glad to have him back there. He knows what he is do­ing.”

Run­ning­back

Noe’s car­ries this season haven’t been dra­matic. He had just 20 yards on 15 runs through the first eight games, but if op­po­nents over­look him that could be their un­do­ing. As a fresh­man on the ju­nior high team Noe ran 90 times for 728 yards, av­er­ag­ing 8.1-yards-per-rush with 7 touch­downs. He is a big fan of Dal­las Cowboys running back Ezekiel El­liot.

“I have re­ally been drawn to Ezekiel El­liot,” Noe said. “Ezekiel El­liot is a hard run­ner. He knows what he’s do­ing. He has a mind for the game and he’s very smart. I love his burst of speed when he gets open and I love the way he cuts, when he finds the holes real fast, and I think that I have the same thing. I mean I pick up on the holes pretty fast and I just burst out of there.”

Throw­ing Me­chan­ics

Dur­ing Noe’s sev­en­t­hand eighth-grade sea­sons he backed up Brewer and played quar­ter­back a lot in mop-up si­t­u­a­tions when the ju­nior Wolves held a big lead. For­mer Lin­coln of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Tyler Dor­ton took Noe un­der his wing and taught him the me­chan­ics of throw­ing a foot­ball.

“I come in and I prac­tice quar­ter­back. Tyler Dor­ton our coach from seventh grade, he was the one that got me into it,” Noe said. “He was the one that spent time with me and got me to learn how to throw, how to re­lease the ball, and how to do all that. So, that’s where it started. I like quar­ter­back.”

Noe’s com­ple­tion per­cent­age over the course of his eighth-grade season was 10-for-10 in a backup role.

“That season right there, when I get the chance to play quar­ter­back I want to do the best what I can out there,” Noe said. “Like I said, it’s some­thing I re­ally wanted to play be­fore.”

Yearn­ing To Pass

Noe’s de­sire to throw the foot­ball and his ca­pa­bil­ity has not gone un­no­ticed by Lin­coln’s staff.

“Ev­ery time I get a chance to go out there, I’m al­ways ask­ing Coach (Dor­ton), ‘Can I go play quar­ter­back?’ and he says, ‘yeah’; and he throws me in there so I want to do the best I can out there.”

Noe was throw­ing to very ca­pa­ble class­mates, ath­letic re­ceivers Daytin Davis and Eli Rich. Both have played mainly de­fense this season, but Davis caught a 20-yard touch­down pass from Brewer against Shiloh.

“They caught some of those passes and they’re re­ally good,” Noe said. “They’re re­ally good re­ceivers and I knew I can trust them and I knew where they were running so I knew where to put it. They got the ball and they gained some yards. I’m pretty con­fi­dent in those guys.”

Noe got op­por­tu­nity to throw the foot­ball this season on a trick play to start the Wolves’ Homecoming game against Ber­ryville. He com­pleted a 42-yard pass to Blake Arnold and re­mains a threat to throw.

Place Kicker

Lin­coln head coach Don Har­ri­son likes Noe as a place-kicker.

“(He’s) got a strong foot, played soc­cer his whole life, so we use him to kick,” Har­ri­son said.

Noe has played soc­cer since he was four years old and his en­thu­si­asm has not di­min­ished by play­ing all those other foot­ball po­si­tions.

“I”m al­ways play­ing out­side and kick­ing the ball,” Noe said. “When I turned six I got on a team in Alabama, and we just picked up week­end games, and that’s where I started kick­ing.”

An­other star from the 2013 team, for­eign ex­change stu­dent Emilio Mar­rufo-Gon­za­les, holds the school record for field goal kick­ing. Mar­rufo made good on 10-of-13 field goal at­tempts with a long of 47 yards. His three misses were from 47, 42 and 41 yards. Mar­rufo suc­cess­fully kicked 63 of 66 ex­tra-points.

“I’ve heard a lot about Emilio ever since I started kick­ing,” Noe said. “They al­ways talked about Emilio. I’ve never heard about Emilio and I did a lot of ask­ing around ask­ing (peo­ple) if they’ve ever heard of Emilio. They told me he was the best kicker Lin­coln ever had and this and that.”

Those ex­ploits stir Noe, who puts in ex­tra work to per­fect kick­ing ex­tra-points and field goals.

“I’ve heard how far he kicked a field goal, and it does (fire me up),” Noe said. “I mean I come out here on the week­ends, Satur­day night or on Sun­day night. I come out here and I kick. I come out here and I work on my ros­ter. I just try to get bet­ter ev­ery day.”

Slot Re­ceiver

This season Har­ri­son asked Noe to move into the “A” po­si­tion, which is Lin­coln’s slot re­ceiver, a lit­tle back that Har­ri­son likes to bring in the back­field and give the ball.

“He’s kind of our quick re­ceiver out there,” Har­ri­son said.

Noe ad­mits he ex­pe­ri­enced a learn­ing curve in ad­just­ing to the role. Yet, he is will­ing to help the team in what­ever ca­pac­ity he is called upon.

“Slot, it was a big chal­lenge, it was re­ally dif­fi­cult to learn all the plays,” Noe said. “I’ve been running the ball for three years since seventh grade to ninth and now they want me to play re­ceiver and I was just like, ‘OK,’ but at first it was a lit­tle chal­leng­ing learn­ing all the plays. Now that I’ve got it, I’m gone. I’m learn­ing.”

Through eight games, Avel­laneda has the sec­ond most re­cep­tions on the team (26) be­hind se­nior Ster­ling Mor­phis, who has 27 catches. Avel­laneda has gained 267 yards av­er­ag­ing 10.3-yards-per-catch with two touch­downs. His long­est re­cep­tions have gone for 27 and 22 yards with a 28-yard touch­down catch.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Lin­coln sopho­more Noe Avel­laneda (5-8, 180) is ver­sa­tile enough to play a va­ri­ety of po­si­tions help­ing the Wolves’ of­fense. He has lined up at tail­back, slot re­ceiver or even quar­ter­back in a Lin­coln uni­form, plus han­dles the place­kick­ing du­ties.

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