Athlete of the Week: Koltan Kobrys, Fort Cherry
Name: Koltan Kobrys
Position: Running Back
Kobrys’ week: The 5-7, 175-pound running back led Fort Cherry to a 42-6 win over Black Hills Conference rival Bishop Canevin last Friday. On the first play of the game, Kobrys took a handoff and sped 85 yards for a touchdown. He added two more scores in the first half and finished the game with 311 yards on 14 carries.
A rare breed: The running back position is reserved for the toughest of players, as each carry usually ends with a hit by an opposing defender. For such a small-statured runner, using a low center of gravity and instincts have been keys to Kobrys becoming the first back from Washington or Greene counties to achieve 1,000 rushing yards this year.
“You know you are going to get hit, and you know you are going to take a beating,” Kobrys said. “Everything is on instinct. I don’t think; I just run. My friends ask me after games, ‘How did you do that?’ I really couldn’t tell you.”
Kobrys used his vision early in the Rangers’ game last Friday, rushing for touchdowns of 85, 52 and 35 yards. The performance helped the Rangers remain in a three-way tie for first place in the Black Hills Conference with Clairton and Monessen.
Fort Cherry coach Jim Shiel is given the tough task of knowing when to allow his hard-nosed running back to remain in the game or to send in a replacement to give Kobrys a breather. According to Shiel, the decision is never an easy one.
“At the tailback position, you take a beating,” Shiel said. “He could take plays off, but he doesn’t. It’s tough sometimes because I have to judge if he’s really spent. This past game, I didn’t really have to do that because he carried the ball only 14 times. He’s not going to tell you he needs a break.”
Recovery: The gashing runner started off last season off with a bang – rushing for more than 400 yards in Fort Cherry’s first two contests. On the first play of the second half in Week 3, Kobrys sustained a season-ending injury that led to a bold decision by the runner: pack on muscle to prepare for the tough defenders in the WPIAL.
With the risk of losing a step on the field, Kobrys added 25 pounds of muscle to aid his body in taking the game-to-game grind of a running back in the Black Hills Conference.
The move is paying off for Kobrys and the Rangers. The senior is hoping that Shiel finds more ways to utilize his skills in the open field and as a decoy to allow the Rangers’ other standout players to exploit opposing defenses.
“Coach tries to get me out to the open field because there is a high chance of me breaking loose,” Kobrys said. “Definitely, once we get into the playoffs, we’re going to have to change some things around. It’s harder to stop multiple players than a single star player.”
Compiled by Lance Lysowski