By BRETT MARSHALL
First of all, Colborn Couchman is no couch potato.
All one has to do to know that is to watch the Scott City running back/linebacker on the football field and know that he enjoys carrying the football on the offensive side of the ball, and hitting running backs and quarterbacks from his defensive position.
And Couchman did it better than anybody else in The Telegram's 12-county, 19-school readership area in 2011, thus earning him Area Football Player of the Year honors.
"It was an amazing senior year," said Couchman of the Beavers' run through an undefeated regular season before falling to eventual Class 3A state champion Conway Springs in the state quarterfinals. "I was able to get a lot more carries and I liked running the ball a lot more."
Couchman responded to the additional workload by carrying the ball 151 times for 1,242 yards and scored 22 touchdowns while averaging 8.2 yards per carry. He had nine pass receptions for 138 yards and one touchdown. On five kickoff returns, he averaged 36 yards and had one TD.
"The line opened the holes for me to get the yards I had," said the unselfish Couchman of his teammates. "It was fun, especially in the big games, because the coach had faith in me."
Big enough to run inside, and fast enough to get to the edge and utilize his speed (a member of the Beavers' 3A 4x100-meter relay team), Couchman said he liked running both inside and outside.
Defensively, he played both end and linebacker during the season, enjoying a stellar performance for the Beavers. He totaled 87 tackles, 52 of them solo, registered 24 tackles for a loss and had 10 sacks.
"I was able to use my quickness because playing at end, teams tried to key on me and Luke (defensive end Hayes)," Couchman said. "Playing linebacker got me more out away from the linemen and I could make more tackles."
The only disappointment for Couchman came when he and his Beaver teammates lost in the quarterfinals to Conway Springs, 39-21.
"That was a stinging loss and it's always sad losing," Couchman said. "But we had a great season and it was a lot of fun. Our team was really close, we worked very hard to get where we were."
Couchman, just one of two returners (Ulysses' Josh Jarnagin is the other) from the 2010 all-area team, is hoping to find his way into a lineup at the collegiate level. Currently, virtually every junior college in Kansas is recruiting Couchman along with Pittsburg State and Emporia State, NCAA Division II schools or maybe walking on at Kansas State.