MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

November 18, 2011

Boling’s country boy style contrasts with his on-field assassin personality

There are two Seth Bolings playing football for Hilldale.

Actually, there’s only one but he has two distinct personalities.

There’s the one the Hornets’ coaches affectionately describe as a “laid back country boy.”

“I like to fish and do all of that outdoors stuff,” he said. “I try to be funny and I can be relaxed.”

Then, there’s the one who steps on the field.

“It’s like a little switch gets flipped,” Boling said. “I  turn into a different person and I’ve got to be mean in a hurry. I like hearing people say, ‘You can’t beat them’ or  ‘You don’t have a chance’ because I feed off of that and it makes me play better. I definitely play with all that I have.”

The 6-foot, 273-pound senior offensive-defensive tackle, a three-year starter, lines up for the Hornets at 7:30 tonight in the Class 4A quarterfinals at Clinton.

Philip McWilliams, who coaches Hilldale’s defensive tackles, has seen both sides of Boling.

“He’s fun to coach,” McWilliams said. “He’s in good spirits in practice and joking. He likes to have a good time. That’s perfect because it means that he’s not stressed out all of the time.

“But he’s serious when he needs to be and Seth turns it on when he gets between the lines.”

Boling’s on-the-field persona showed up impressively last week when he was one of five players to record 10 or more tackles with 12 including three for a loss in the Hornets’ 22-12 first-round playoff victory against Tulsa McLain.

McWilliams has been around Boling just for this season. He’s seen more enough to be impressed.

“Seth’s fast, quick and strong,” the assistant coach said. “He’s also tough as nails. He’s hard to stop when he wants to get somewhere. He’s a smart kid as he knows where he needs to be to make plays.”

Boling looks forward to the challenge of playing against the Red Tornadoes (10-1), ranked No. 2 in the final Associated Press poll. Hilldale (9-2) was No. 7.

“They have a good reputation,”  he said. “But we’ve got to believe in ourselves. Coach (Travis) Bryant (Hilldale’s defensive coordinator) says they’re big up front. That means I have to do what I have to do and play hard.”

Mike Lee, in his 22nd season as head coach at Clinton, is aware of Boling and the other Hornet linemen.

“They have several good ones,” he said. “(Boling) and (Matt Brown) really stand out. It’s going to be hard to run on them because they’re big up front. It’s going to be a real battle.”

Chad Kirkhart, Hilldale’s head coach, respects the Red Tornadoes.

“You’ve got to have the mindset to be mentally ready to go. Our guys will be ready,” he said. “Clinton’s had a good program for a long time. They’re solid and I don’t think there’s any one spot where they’re not good. But I don’t think we’ll be intimidated.”

Clinton, which has won eight state championships under Lee, is led on offense by Jailee Rainge. Rainge has 1,815 yards rushing on 18 (10.03 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns. Quarterback Garrison Mendoza has completed 69 of 117 (58.9) passes for 1,199 yards and 17 TDs with six interceptions.

Boling has 58 tackles and three sacks for the season and he blocks for an offense that averages 4.5 yards per carry. He said he won’t be in awe of Clinton.

“I don’t think anybody’s unbeatable,” he said. “It’s not like Clinton is going to be impossible to beat. It should be  a good game. We definitely don’t want this to be our last game.”

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