MONTICELLO — Go ahead and call Josh Burton a jack-of-all-trades.
But the Monticello senior would ask you to call him something else: a football player.
Burton had his hand in every facet of the game Friday in an important home matchup for the Sages against Tuscola. Not only does Burton play both ways (wide receiver on offense, safety on defense), the do-it-all playmaker also handles Monticello punts and shares return duties with Dylan Knisley.
Against the Warriors, Burton almost single-handedly controlled field possession with excellent punts and a number of solid returns into Warriors territory, as well as securing three interceptions, two of which led to a pair of Monticello scores in a 30-7 win.
“Sometimes I have to ask Coach for a break. That’s just how it goes,” Burton said. “I think he likes me out there. I’m glad to play for him.”
“I still want more out of him, to be honest with you,” Monticello coach Cully Welter said. “When he was a sophomore we really started to see him blossom as an athlete. We were excited about his potential. Of course, last year he was excellent for us defensively.
“And he’s a smart kid. Sometimes he overthinks things, but he’s a real heady kid.”
Knisley ran for 230 yards and four TDs.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Bates led the Warriors in rushing (34 yards) and completed 16 of 37 passes for 184 yards.
Cole Evans scored Tuscola’s lone touchdown in the first quarter.
“We had four dropped passes, I think, for first downs. Those add up in a hurry,” Tuscola coach Rick Reinhart said. “When you don’t get first downs and they control the ball, that completely changes the whole game.”
Monticello controlled field position, forcing the Warriors to go the length of the field to score.
“It was that (field position) and turnovers,” Reinhart said. “That’s the name of this game.”
Okaw Valley Black
TEAM CONF. OVERALL
Monticello 0 0 4 0
Unity 0 0 3 1
St. Teresa 0 0 2 2
Sullivan/Okaw Valley 0 0 2 2
Clinton 0 0 1 3
Shelbyville 0 0 1 3
NEXT FRIDAY’S GAMES
Monticello at Clinton
Shelbyville at St. Teresa
Unity at Sullivan/Okaw Valley