Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 13, 2013
CHINA GROVE — Back in 1950, New York Yankees coach Bill Dickey fumbled for words as he tried to describe a teenage prospect he’d just seen to veteran player Tommy Henrich.
“I’ve never seen power like that,” Dickey said. “He hits the ball and it stays hit.”
That teenager was Mickey Mantle and the reason you’re reading about Mantle in a football story is that he had some things in common with Carson teenager Myquon Stout.
Stout often leaves people fumbling for words because when the linebacker hits people, they stay hit.
When the sleek 240-pound Stout — he’s traded some bulk for speed as a senior — made a sack in Carson’s recent game with Hickory Ridge, there was a thump audible a mile away, and the quarterback was jolted 3 yards backwards. Somehow that quarterback, much tougher than the average human, climbed back on his feet.
“There is a reason,” Carson coach Joe Pinyan says with a smile, “that Myquon will be in the Shrine Bowl.”
Stout, committed to Appalachian State, is an interesting guy. He’s been a state champ in the shot put and he’s been chosen to play in the elite football all-star game for the Carolinas.
But at the same time, he’s a role player on Carson’s basketball team. He’s the Cougar who takes charges, rebounds, defends the post and wins the team hustle award.
“Stout is about competing and winning,” Pinyan said. “The winning is what really matters to him.”
Stout’s football season started late. He missed Carson’s first two games at Salisbury and North Rowan.
“Right before the opener with Salisbury, we were practicing onside kicks,” Stout said. “I made a dive for a ball and I landed wrong on my shoulder.”
Since being cleared for duty, Stout hasn’t missed a beat from his stellar junior season.
“He makes plays others don’t make, plays that you can’t coach a kid to make,” Pinyan said. “But at the same time, sometimes you’re guilty of taking the great plays he makes for granted. You just assume he’ll make them. You don’t get as excited as you do when a kid makes the unexpected play.”
That probably explains why Stout lasted to the end of the regular season before he was chosen by Pinyan and his staff as the seventh “Friday Night Hero” for a 7-4 team.
“I didn’t mind,” Stout said with a smile. “I was glad for my friends.”
Stout’s game against Cox Mill in Friday’s 49-21 victory wasn’t unusual, but he shared team defensive player of the week honors with nose tackle Tonny Dang.
“Stout had nine tackles, a pass breakup, a hit for loss — and that’s probably a lesser number of tackles than he has a lot of Fridays,” Pinyan said. “Just steady as always.”
Stout will be a down lineman in the Shrine Bowl and in college, but he’s been used in multiple roles by the Cougars — a linebacker against running teams, but a threat to be a fierce pass-rusher against throwing teams.
“We usually put him at linebacker, so he can run around a little bit more, but teams still run away from him as much as they can,” Pinyan said. “That’s why his numbers aren’t more extravagant.”
Stout is a superstar who enjoys the little things most. Ask about his favorite play from last Friday, and he wasn’t even on defense. It came on special teams.
“I was blocking for a punt return, and I had a collision with this dude, and we’re both just lying there on the ground next to each other,” Stout said. “Then I look up and see we took the punt back to their 10, so it must’ve been a good block.”
It’s been a special season for Carson’s seniors. After 4-7 and 4-8, 7-4 is as satisfying as a summer breeze.
“I think the credit goes mostly to a new coach, a great coach who came in here and got us going,” Stout said.
Stout was relaxing and watching college football Saturday when text messages rolled in as pairings were released. As the No. 8 seed, Carson owned a first-round home game in the 3A playoffs against Forestview.
“I was happy about that,” Stout said. “Another home game is exciting.”
Pinyan is confident Stout has saved his best for last.
“I think Myquon would be the first one to tell you he hasn’t played his best game yet,” Pinyan said.
One thing you can count on — if Stout does get a chance to hit some people, they’ll stay hit.