Reynolds blast way to top defender honors

Published 8:48 pm Saturday, December 27, 2008

The 2008 season may not have turned out the way head coach Hugh Fountain would have liked, but he never had to worry about who would step up to lead his Charles Henderson Trojans.

The leader of the Trojans was Lequintez Reynolds, and it has been that way for the previous three years at Charles Henderson. These leadership qualities coupled with Reynolds’ performance on the field garnered him honors as The Messenger’s 2008 All-County Defensive Player of the Year.

“Lequintez has been a great leader for our team for a long time,” Fountain said. “When you look back at the last three years. When he was a sophomore, we were rolling along good and he got injured. After that injury we went downhill a lot and he was a key player on that team. He was a leader that year as a sophomore, the next year he was a team captain as a junior and this year he is a team captain in his senior year and he has showed his leadership.”

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Reynolds, the Trojans’ senior hard-hitting linebacker, said he is appreciative of the award.

“It feels good to be named Defensive Player of the Year,” he said. “It is a big accomplishment because I feel like there are a lot of good players out there. And I am very grateful. Of course I have to thank the man upstairs, I thank God first for giving me the ability to play like I play.”

Fountain said Reynolds had a down year compared to previous years when looking at statistics, but that Reynolds is still an incredible player. Reynolds’ ability to play through injury placed him in a special light in Fountain’s eyes.

“He did not have as good a year statistically this year, but we played more games last year because we went to the third round of the playoffs and this year he battled through some injuries,” Fountain said. “He had a broken hand and wore a huge cast for four games. He had a sprained hamstring to open the season and he was also hit with turf toe. He never missed a beat all season and that says a whole lot for his leadership on both sides of the ball.”

Reynolds had 96 tackles, six tackles for a loss, three sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries this year.

Fountain sees Reynolds’ work ethic as something of a blast from the past.

“What makes him special is that he is what you would call a throwback football player,” Fountain said. “He loves football all the time. He had a brother who played here and they are a lot alike. They both love the game. I think that came to him because his brother instilled it in him. His brother was one of the greatest workers we had.”

Reynolds has had experience with playing through pain his entire career and he said that makes it easier.

“Mainly I always wanted to get out there to help my teammates,” Reynolds said. “I grew up around them and they are like a second family.”

And Fountain said Reynolds was always focused on winning with that family.

“When Lequintez stepped on the football field it was all about business,” Fountain said. “He was never playing around on the field. Now off the field he is one of the biggest pranksters on the team, but on the team he was a serious football player. Winning meant a lot to him and playing hard meant a lot to him. He was just the type who loved to hit and be a physical football player. Those types of guys are the ones who deserve Defensive Player of the Year.”

Fountain said he wishes he had more players with the character Reynolds possesses.

“Lequintez played the game the way you would like for every one of your players to play the game,” Fountain said. “He always played hard and most every team we played this year and the guys on the team always have a lot of respect for No. 31. And that says a lot for him.”

Reynolds’ true character came out following the Trojans’ 3-0 playoff loss to Citronelle.

“I always like to clown around a lot, but that is just me,” Reynolds said. “I love making people laugh and I just like to have a good time. But what I told the team that night was there is always a time to have a good time and play and there is a time you can’t play. But as long as you are having fun in what you are doing, you need to keep doing it.”

On the field in the midst of a game when Charles Henderson is trailing, Reynolds’ leadership qualities do not disappear. His message is usually the same for his team when times are tough.

“I always tell them, ‘Fellas we are Trojans and Trojans don’t go down without a fight,” Reynolds said. “Knowing us and how good we are, we are basically like brothers no matter the color white or black. We all just see one color. We will always come back and they listen.”

Fountain said it is like have a coach on the field when Reynolds is out there.

“When you have a guy who believes in football the same way you do and believes in his teammates the way you do that is great,” Fountain said. “Lequintez took every boy that we had playing for us under his wing and made them all a part of the family, whether they were a great player or not. I think every kid we had, whether they were a senior or freshman, had a great deal of respect for Lequintez because of the type of person he was on and off the field.”

Reynolds used that motivation to help the Trojans shut out Eufaula 10-0 this year. He said that was his best memory of the 2008 season.

He may be a senior, but Reynolds said he is not done working yet.

“I am not going to stop,” he said. “I am going to keep getting better and better.”