By Tommy Keeler Jr.
STEPHENS CITY -- Tyler Hamilton doesn't get a lot of the glory like some of his teammates. The Sherando defensive tackle and tight end doesn't run or pass for touchdowns or make dazzling interceptions, and Hamilton is OK with that.
Sherando coach Bill Hall said Hamilton epitomizes what Sherando football is all about.
"Tyler can be like a snapshot of our team, from the standpoint of there's a lot of people that do a lot of dirty work behind the scenes so that other people can be successful," Hall said. "So you can have Reid [Entsminger] and LeeQuan [Johnson] and Adam Whitacre score touchdowns. There's people that have to do dirty work to make that happen. For George [Aston] to make tackles, someone has to be in front of him. Tyler does the dirty work that people don't get to see. And the reason why he's so successful doing it is because of the work he's put in all year."
Hamilton said that he understands when someone makes a big play and scores a touchdown he gets satisfaction in knowing that he did his part to make it happen.
"I get so excited [when someone scores a touchdown]," Hamilton said. "I love my boys to death, and when they score a touchdown I'm always there for them and happy for them. Like George [Aston] when he's down in the end zone, we're always high-fiving, Reid [Entsminger], [Johnson], all of them."
Hamilton has played on the defensive line since he started playing football in seventh grade. His size and aggressiveness have helped him develop into an important part of Sherando's defense.
The six-foot, 245-pounder said he loves going one-on-one with an offensive lineman.
"I always have the mentality of telling myself that I'm always going to win [the battle]," Hamilton said. "I tell myself I'm not going to let someone else beat me."
Hamilton had a solid year at defensive end last season, his first full season the varsity squad. Hall said with the addition of transfer defensive end Brogan McPartland from Handley the staff decided to move Hamilton to defensive tackle so that the pair could do damage from the same side of the field. McPartland went down with an injury early in the season, and Hall said they considered moving Hamilton back to end, but he was doing so well at tackle they kept him there.
Hamilton leads the team with 2.5 sacks, and has 42 tackles, including 13 for a loss.
"He has a very critical role within our defense, and he's physically prepared himself so he can be successful within that role," Hall said.
Part of Hamilton's preparation comes in the weight room. Hamilton said he loves being in the weight room, and his bench max is 300.
"I love lifting weights, just getting everything off your head," Hamilton said. "It's just another great attribute to playing football."
Hamilton also wrestles for Sherando, and he said it helps him keep in shape for football.
On offense, Hamilton is mostly used as a blocking tight end, and Hall said they try to send him downfield sometimes. He has two receptions for 37 yards this season.
"He is physical at the point of attack for us," Hall said. "We run behind the tight end a lot, so there's not a lot of secrets and we can move him around. He's like having another lineman and we can release him sometimes."
Hall said it's very tough to play the two positions that Hamilton plays, but he does it very well.
"It's one thing when you play defensive back and wide receiver, it's different when you play defensive tackle and tight end," Hall said. "There is a physical car crash every single play that goes on. And it takes a man to play in there the way he plays."
As most anyone would, Hamilton loves the feeling he gets when he gets a sack or makes a big hit on the football field. But he said there's a feeling that's much better than either of those -- it's the adrenaline rush of running onto Arrowhead Stadium under the lights on a Friday night.
"Getting to run out on Friday night lights -- best experience of my life," Hamilton said. "The best part is just looking up in the stands and hearing the crowd roar. And your heart's beating like crazy. Your adrenaline's going -- it's indescribable. It's one of those things you got to be there to feel it. It feels so good. That's what I know I'll always remember about high school. It's better than anything -- it's the best thing."
Hamilton and his teammates will get to run onto the field again Friday when they host Liberty in the second round of the Class 4A North Region playoffs at 7 p.m.
Being a senior this year, Hamilton said the players want to make sure they keep their season going and end it in a positive way.
"It kind of hits you in the heart," Hamilton said of being a senior. "We just had senior speeches last week and it sucks in a way, but it's got to end some time. But we're going to end on a good note this year, I think."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd