2008 Prep Football: Former West star throwing passes again
By Ronnie Gallagher
Why is former West Rowan quarterback Bryan Aycoth back on the football field after a two-year hiatus?
He realized that laying the football in the hands of a receiver is a lot better than laying brick.
A year of working in the construction business had Aycoth, the 2005 Rowan County Athlete of the Year, longing for something that brought excitement back to his world. And he found it right down the road from his home at Livingstone College.
Aycoth is currently competing for the starting job, along with Steven Williams and Curtis Edens.
“It’s a wide-open race,” Livingstone head coach Lamonte Massie said. “I’m looking forward to watching the battle every day in practice.”
Aycoth was a smooth passer for Scott Young’s Falcons during his senior season in 2004.
He decided to walk on at East Carolina and went through spring practice.
“I played in the spring game,” Aycoth said.
But soon, he was out of football, instead building houses.
“I realized (construction) wasn’t what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” he said.
Aycoth had continued to work out, adding 25 pounds of muscle. He started looking for football options.
And out of the clear blue, he found the Blue Bears.
He was at the YMCA lifting one day and ran into Corey Brooks, a Salisbury policeman and former Livingstone player.
“He told me to look into Livingstone,” Aycoth said. “I gave him my phone number. Later that day, I got a phone call.”
That’s all it took.
“The coaches did a pretty good job of wrapping their arms around him, saying, ‘Here’s an opportunity. We’re a growing program. We’re trying to turn things around with people like you,’ ” Massie said. “He kinda canceled all those other visits.”
This summer, Aycoth wanted to prove to the coaches he wasn’t blowing smoke. The quarterback was at school four to five times a week throwing and lifting.
“I thought, ‘Hey, this young man is really taking things seriously,’ ” an impressed Massie said.
The second-year Livingstone coach then pointed out Aycoth had bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times that very day.
“It opened a lot of people’s eyes,” Massie said. “I think he brings a level of competitive spirit from a strength and conditioning standpoint.”
Hearing that brought a smile to Aycoth’s face.
“Initially, (the coaches) weren’t really believing it,” he said of his comeback plans. “I think it was a pleasant surprise.”
It was that work ethic that took Aycoth to great heights during his career at West Rowan. His senior year, he was voted Rowan County’s offensive player of the year in football, started in basketball and was then named to a 3A all-state team in baseball.
Young remembers what kind of leader Aycoth was for him when he was wearing Falcon blue.
“Bryan’s real smart,” said Young, who allowed Aycoth to work out many times at West over the past two years. “He’ll pick up the offense real quick. He just has a lot of the intangibles.”
Young also remembers Aycoth’s senior season when, with the help of receivers Lamont Savage and Brett Hatley, Aycoth threw for 1,920 yards and 16 touchdowns.
“When he stepped into the huddle, those other guys knew they could trust him to make the right decision,” Young said.
Two years later, Aycoth thinks he has made another correct decision.
“I knew Livingstone wasn’t winning,” Aycoth said, “but I felt it could only get better.”
Livingstone won’t play its opener until Aug. 30, but life’s already better for Bryan Aycoth.
He’s wearing pads and throwing the football with a purpose again.
“It’s what I’m destined to do,” he said.