DEXTER Jake Humerickhouses leg is obviously hurting after taking a shot during last Fridays victory over Lowville.
He jogs over to talk to a reporter with a noticeable limp, vowing that it feels better and that theres no way hes going to miss one of the biggest games of the season Friday night against Immaculate Heart Central.
If nothing else, Humerickhouse is Mr. Reliable for the Lions, having started every game since his sophomore season and proving to be a typical undersized, under appreciated standout for a team that is again challenging for a Section 3 Class C title.
He neither seeks glory nor relishes the spotlight as a sideline-to-sideline defender at linebacker or a punishing running back on offense. But the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior certainly does not go unnoticed by his coaches or the teams that must prepare to play against Humerickhouse.
Give me 22 of him and Id never have to worry, General Brown defensive coordinator Rob Pickeral said. He hits you a lot harder than you might think. Jakes also got a great attitude and will do anything to help the team win.
Jakes got a great head for the game, Lions head coach Tom Frears said. He never seems to be out of position and his great instincts always carry him to the ball on defense.
Humerickhouse said all of the kind words are nice. But performing to the best of his ability every day in practice and during games is whats most important.
Whatever I can do to help us win, he said. As a senior, Im trying to push the other seniors and the younger kids to be as good as we can be. Hopefully, our dedication will be like it was in 2010.
That year, Humerickhouse was a first-year varsity starter on a General Brown team that won the sectional title and made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to Bronxville.
Two years later, Frears relies on the now veteran two-way starter to be a more vocal leader and hopes his other players learn by watching how hard Humerickhouse works day in and day out.
Jake truly leads by example, Frears said. You never have to worry about him giving less than 100 percent and hes going to play as hard on the last snap as he did on the first one.
Humerickhouse has also sacrificed for the good of the team, moving to outside linebacker this season after playing inside the last two years.
We wanted to take advantage of his great athleticism and anticipation, Frears said. Since were facing more and more spread offenses, we needed someone on the outside that could run with the quick receivers and the running backs.
Humerickhouse said hes adjusted to the move, and has more freedom.
Though he doesnt possess great speed, Pickeral said he plays at a great football speed and is pound-for-pound probably our hardest hitter. Some kids run really fast, but hit you softly. Jake hits you with maximum effort and almost never misses a tackle.
On offense, Humerickhouse has gained 225 yards on just 23 carries with four touchdowns as Frears has rotated his backfield to keep everybody fresh.
Hes kind of like Kyle Scordo was for us two years ago, Frears said. A kid who just makes the big plays and picks up the big yards when we need them.
Humerickhouse started playing football in the fourth grade and has been in love with the sport ever since. He watched older brother Mike shine for the Lions a few years ago, always dreaming of stepping into a starting role.
When I started as a sophomore on that great team, I was really in awe of those guys, Humerickhouse said. Those guys really taught me how to prepare for a game and to maintain a work ethic no matter how you feel or how things are going.
Humerickhouse also appears on many of the Lions special teams, which means he is in great physical shape and keeps mentally on edge. Id rather be on the field than watching, no doubt, he said.
Also a standout defenseman in lacrosse, Humerickhouse will probably play that sport in college and eschew football. But first, hes concentrating on helping the unbeaten Lions capture another Section 3 football crown.
For all the seniors (17), this is our last shot, he said. So were determined to give it our best and hope that we can come together like we did two years ago.
With Humerickhouse leading, that could be a distinct possibility.