Shaquille Taylor not only was a big star of Fostoria High School’s win over Bellevue last Friday, nabbing three touchdown catches and playing great defense, but the 170-pound senior also showed he had a lot of Hardy Brown in him.
Hardy Brown was a famous big-hitter who played with the San Francisco 49ers in the mid-1950s. There is an NFL highlight film of Brown, a 195-pound linebacker, laying guys out with an educated shoulder shot right under the chin of backs and receivers loose in the open field. Brown never became a Hall of Famer, but seeing him in action showed he was some kind of Jack Tatum-like dangerous hitter.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. Brown had a one great nickname too — “Thumper”!
And since I am in a digressive mood, there was another 49er who had the best nickname I ever heard. Linebacker Frank Nunley was from Michigan and was known as “Fudgehammer.” It was said, “He was a real sweet guy who hit like a hammer.”
In the couple of times I’ve Taylor play, he has come through with some tooth-rattling blocks. Against Bellevue, Taylor launched Micah Hyde on a second- quarter punt return with a crushing pop as Hyde made a 17-yard return and then was tackled out-of-bounds for a 15-yard personal foul call. Two plays later, Taylor pulled in a 24-yard pass from Hyde with 10 seconds left in the half.
FHS had done some nice clock management in that situation, using its timeouts wisely and forcing Bellevue to punt from deep in its own territory.
Taylor’s last TD catch, in the fourth quarter, was a thing of beauty as he secured the ball laying out near the end zone sideline, dragging both feet to stay in bounds.
Lots of people thought FHS would be in trouble against Bellevue, but obviously that was not the case.
“The last time I heard we were supposed to come out here and get scraped,” Hyde said. “But, hey ... I guess we didn’t.”
FHS matched up well against the Bellevue spread offense. During the game I made a special note of all the players in the Redmen defensive backfield because they were playing so well.
Junior Antoine Williams got a nice compliment from coach Grine in the game story. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Williams intercepted a Bellevue pass and returned it to the visitors’ 15 yard line in the third quarter.
Safety Jordan Bulkowski came up with a tackle for loss and grabbed six passes on offense for 59 yards.
Another junior, Jake Solether, played with enthusiasm, defending passes and making hard tackles. Add in Taylor and Hyde and that was where Bellevue’s passing game ran smack into FHS’ strength.