Dylan Shinsky’s got so many moves.
And on one first-quarter scoring run last Saturday at Carson-Newman, the Kentucky Future Stars eighth-graders got a look at pretty much all of them.
Bouncing off left tackle then darting for the sideline, the whirling, a spinning Shinsky eluded no less than seven defenders in a jaw-dropping dash to the end zone to open the scoring.
By the end of the quarter, the rising Maryville High School freshman had better than 50 yards rushing on five carries, Tennessee’s Future Stars had a two touchdown lead, and it was never again close, the home side winning in a blowout, 41-6, with much of the closing half played with a running clock.
Shinsky uncorked many such runs the last two years, running out the backfield at Maryville Middle. Bulldog coach Jay Malone, who coached the seventh-grade Tennessee Future Stars to a 26-25 overtime victory in the preceding contest, grinned broadly as Shinsky crossed the goal line and flipped the ball to a nearby official.
“The best way I can describe it is he pushes to the sideline as hard as can be; he stops, stutters twice and accelerates like he’s coming out of track blocks,” Malone said. “Amazing.”
Tennessee Future Stars eighth-grade coach Todd Kelly went even further.
A former Tennessee Vol and NFL linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, Kelly’s professional career coincided with one of the game’s all-time greats. Shinsky reminds him a lot of that player, Kelly said.
“The first thing you think of is, ‘Dah-dah-dah, dah-dah-dah,’” he said, “SportsCenter, the top play. He looked like Barry Sanders on that run.”
Shinsky picked up a key block from Maryville Middle teammate Paul Bristol downfield on the scoring run. Bristol would later set up another Tennessee with first-down catch at receiver. With Brant Sloan at center, the Bulldogs were well represented in the middle school showcase for up-and-coming high school stars.
Shinsky shattered the Maryville Middle record for the 100-meter hurdles on the track this past season, coming in at just over 13 seconds to take the Tennessee Middle School Athletic Association East Sectional championship. Sectional competition is as high as it goes on the middle school level. Maryville Middle has won the last six sectional titles.
“This year, no one beat him in the hurdles,” Malone said. “He broke the school record, and it was fast!
“This will be my 20th year (coaching), and he’s in the top five players I’ve ever had the pleasure to coach. Easy.”
Good enough play right away at the high school level, like Rebel sophomore Shawn Prevo did a year ago in helping Maryville High to record-tying 12 state championship?
“I think he could play a lot as a freshman,” Malone said. “I think he’ll get t some reps.”
Sponsored by national coaching clinic Football Tech, the seventh- and eighth-grade Future Stars witnessed record turnouts for the qualifying combines earlier this month. Better than 250 eighth-graders competed for spots on Kelly’s squad, with 175 seeking to earn selection to Malone’s seventh-grade all-stars.
“Football Tech really did a great job of promoting this,” Malone said, “and I think it’s going to get better and better every year.”
The only downer was the lack of representation countywide on this year’s rosters, he said. Coaches for the seventh- and eighth-grade squads can have no input in selection. This year, Football Tech made it even to tougher to make the roster, scheduling combines as far west as Nashville to ensure a broader representation of the entire state.
Last season, Alcoa Middle and Carpenters Middle both sent representatives to the contest in Kentucky.