Funny, how fathers and sons remember things differently. Not really surprising, though, since everyone knows that fathers aren't nearly as good at names, dates and events as, say, kids and mothers. Take Sam Singleton, for instance.
After watching his son Korey rush for 287 yards on 29 carries and score five touchdowns for sixth-ranked Oakland Mills (5-0) in a 41-0 rout of Centennial Saturday, Sam reflected on the roots of Korey's football career. The way Sam tells it, Korey started playing at the age of 7 and continued through youth leagues until joining the Scorpions' varsity as a freshman.
Not exactly, said Korey. "I played once in the second grade and didn't like it," he said. "I didn't play again until eighth grade because I grew in size and got a lot faster." Now a senior, this is his third full season on the varsity.
But Sam, who was a small college All-America running back at Wayne (Neb.) State, an NAIA school, and gained more than 3,000 yards from 1967 to '71, can be forgiven his lapse of memory. He and Korey are now on the same page and the same sideline together. Sam, after 13 years away from coaching, joined the Oakland Mills' staff this year to work with running backs and defensive backs, just in time to see Korey (6 feet, 195 pounds) explode for some remarkable rushing statistics.
In the two weeks before the Centennial game, Korey had run for 272 yards and four touchdowns against Atholton, and 303 yards with four touchdowns against South River. Halfway through the schedule he has amassed 1,046 yards on 124 carries (8.4 average), and scored 15 touchdowns. After splitting carries last year with two other running backs, including first-team All-Metro pick Archie Clark (Maryland), is Singleton surprised by his numbers?
"A little . . . I felt as if I could do it. The line's been blocking great," he said. But when Singleton runs a sweep, using his speed (4.5 seconds for 40 yards) to simply run by defenders with an angle on him, and his strength (275-pound bench press) to stiff-arm those who do get close, he does it on his own talent.
And, said Scorpions coach Ken Hovet, "He's by far the best defensive player on the team [at outside linebacker] . . . He's a little ornery inside. He likes to lower his head and hit somebody. And, as a coach, you appreciate a glamour tailback who blocks just as hard for other kids.
"He's the team leader," said Hovet. "He's very quiet, but he's real intense . . . He'll make a comment to teammates if he thinks they're not performing."
Singleton brings that intensity into the classroom, too. Carrying a 3.6 grade-point average, his favorite subjects this year are calculus and advanced placement biology. As a member of the National Honor Society, he participates in its tutorial program, helping others with algebra. And he's active in the Black Students Achievement Program, a social issues discussion group.
Naturally, the big-time college programs have been calling. But Korey, who is interested in sports medicine and physical therapy, won't be swayed by football hoopla. He would consider a smaller program if the intellectual and athletic fit is right. "I'd like to play in college," he said. "But my main interest is in getting my degree."