Being unselfish has become natural for Andrew Sayer.

Being unselfish has become natural for Andrew Sayer.

After rushing for 1,106 yards and 11 touchdowns on 230 carries last season, the senior on the Johnstown-Monroe High School football team switched sides. This fall, the 6-foot, 190-pounder primarily has played middle linebacker.

It's a natural fit considering Sayer also is the point guard on the boys basketball team, which won its first district title since 2006 last winter.

"When you play point guard, you have to have a feel and be in the flow of the game and the same things transfer to the football field," said Sayer, whose team is 6-0 after winning 58-6 in its LCL-Cardinal Division opener Sept. 30 against Northridge. "You have to be able to call out what you see that the (opponent's) offense is doing (in football) and make sure everyone is in the right place."

Sayer moved to the defensive side of the ball after the graduation of key linebackers Nate Brown (second-team all-district, first-team all-league), Hayden Bullard (first-team all-district and all-league) and David Corbi (honorable mention all-district and all-league).

"The coaches felt it was necessary because we lost a lot of defensive guys," said Sayer, who was second-team all-district and all-league at running back. "I didn't play defense at all, but was a linebacker in freshman (football) and j.v. (as a sophomore).

"I still play some offense, but it's not a big deal to me. I love hitting people and going 100 mph. I think it might be easier to give the hit than to take it."

Through five games, Sayer had 31 tackles, including four for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. At running back, he had 25 carries for 124 yards and six touchdowns and two receptions for 20 yards.

"Andrew is doing a great job on defense and is extremely important to the things that we want to do," said coach Mike Carter, whose team had won 15 consecutive regular-season games before playing Northridge. "He's smart and very dedicated to the team. Good things happen when he's on the field."

The Johnnies play their second LCL-Cardinal contest Saturday, Oct. 8, against Newark Catholic at White Field in Newark.

The Green Wave is 4-2 after losing 41-7 to Heath on Sept. 30. Kyle Gibson, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound senior running back, had rushed for 959 yards and nine touchdowns on 104 carries through five games.

Hunter Chapman was 47-for-87 passing for 735 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions. His top target has been Mason Peddicord, who had 21 catches for 285 yards and three scores.

Last fall, the Johnnies defeated Newark Catholic 24-7 by rolling up 359 yards on the ground, including 94 yards on 18 carries from Sayer. Quarterback Cody Workman ran for 148 yards and two scores on 17 carries, and Justin Franklin added 61 yards on 16 carries.

"Everything about that game was great, and it always is when we play them," Sayer said. "It was a Thursday night TV game and it was a lot of fun. This game is on Saturday, and I don't think I have played many Saturday games, so that will be different. I know we'll need all of (this) week to prepare."

On Sept. 23, the Johnnies raced past Granville 45-15 as Workman ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and Franklin added 158 yards and three scores on 26 carries.

"The focus of this team is grit," Sayer said. "No matter if we score on one play or on a 20-play drive, we try to get it done any way we can.

"That's one thing coach Carter has taught us -- hard work and discipline pay off. You can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it, and you have to work for things because no one will hand them to you."

Sayer has a 3.9 GPA, but is undecided about his college major. He probably won't play sports at the next level.

"This is the last go-around, not just for me, but all of our seniors," he said. "That's the great thing about football, being able to work and sweat with my brothers. We have gotten really close and we want to keep this going."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

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