Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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He emerged to make a lasting first impression during Coldwater’s championship season in 2012.  Now safety/quarterback Brody Hoying is ready to take the next step and make more, and different, impressions as a football player.

Coldwater – Coldwater head coach Chip Otten wasn’t too sure about how much junior safety Brody Hoying would have to say as an interviewee.

“He’s pretty quiet,”  said Otten.  “He usually doesn’t have a lot to say.”

Which is totally apropos for the 5′ 11″, 185-pound Hoying, who burst onto the high school football scene last season playing free safety for the unbeaten state champion Cavaliers.  He didn’t do much talking then, either.  He let his play do his talking.  Sophomores, after all, are to be felt and not heard.

Through an undefeated regular season,  Hoying’s play in decisive wins over teams like  Div. VI state champion Marion Local, a traditional MAC rival, was more than enough to capture the eye of onlookers who marveled at the speed and instincts of a sophomore…playing like a senior.

In the Division V regional final game with Covington he left a couple of calling cards on Buccaneer ball-carriers, the likes of which they would remember long after the final horn and the season.  “For his size he hits like a wrecking ball,”  said one admiring coach, watching from the sidelines.

In the Division V state semi-final against Liberty-Benton it was Hoying’s “center field” play that literally neutralized that team’s ability to throw across the middle of the field.  One early hit in that game essentially shrunk the Eagles offense to “dink” and “dunk”, and whatever else they could gain on the ground in a 38-0 rout.

And in the state championship game with Kirtland, a rematch of the 2011 finale in which Kirtland beat Coldwater, it was Hoying’s diving interception on Kirtland’s final drive for a winning touchdown that preserved a hard-fought 10-9 win by the Cavaliers.

True to Otten’s words, Brody Hoying isn’t much of a talker.  But while reserved and calculating when he does speak, he is the essence of a “natural” with his presence on a football field.  If he were twenty years older one would be moved to consider the comparisons to the figure played by Robert Redford in the movie.  The similarities, at least athletically, are striking.

“Are you Brody?” I asked him last week, prior to a camp 7-on-7 workout.  He’s not nearly so recognizable out of uniform.

“Yes,”  he answered quietly.  “What would you like to talk about?”

The innocence is refreshing.  The confidence in his voice when he does speak is alarming.  Following in a long line of great names and great natural football players at Coldwater (and many of them Hoyings , or Hoyngs), the new “natural” is a great interview once he gets started.

“Last year was very important to our team and to the community, to go up there and win the championship game,”  he opened, sharing the experience of finally winning the Division V crown after three trips to Massillon and coming home empty-handed.  “We wanted to win it for our seniors because they had been there those other times.  That was the best part about winning, that and the party back here when we got home.  Everybody was here to support us.”

He earned quickly, and early, the reputation for making the big play in 2012, for “hitting”, sticking unsuspecting pass receivers as they ranged the secondary, and likewise unsuspecting ball-carriers if and when they broke containment at the line of scrimmage.  Hoying’s run support as a safety is second to none.

“Some of it we schemed,”  says Otten.  “But a lot of it he does on his own.  He has very good instincts back there and sometimes we just tell him to go make a play.  He usually does.”

With Austin Bruns having graduated, Hoying will do double duty in 2013, assuming the quarterback position for the Cavaliers.

A pair of hits in the Covington regional final game are still being talked about, and talked about with respect, by one of the state’s best running backs, the Buccs’ A.J. Oullette.

“Yeah, he stuck Troy Cron on a play in the first half…really popped him,”  smiled Oullette, recalling the play earlier this summer.  “And on the next play he got me.  It was the hardest I got hit all year, and it was a clean hit.  He’s a great player.”

But hard hits are not something that Hoying brags about or makes a point of when talking about his style of play.

“No, I don’t go out there with the intent of hitting someone as hard as I can,”  he assures.  “I just try to get to the ball and make the play.  If I get a clean shot I’ll take it, but that’s it.”

Simple as that?

“He has great speed and he plays all over the field,”  says Covington coach Dave Miller.  “They did some things with him in run support in that playoff game that took us by surprise.  We’d be prepared for that now and we’d do a better job of blocking him.  But that night in the regional final he rocked our world.”

He’ll still be roaming the secondary this year, and only a junior.  The fact of having already one a state title and having two more years to enjoy high school football is not lost upon Hoying.  It’s the best of all worlds high school football-wise.  And making it all the more enjoyable will be his opportunity to play on both sides of the ball now on a regular basis.  A sometime running back last year, this fall he’ll assume the duties of quarterback, as well.

“First time I get to play quarterback since the eighth grade,”  he says with a satisfied smile.  “I’m looking  forward to it.”

And his coach has every reason to believe that he’ll adapt very quickly.

“He’s such a great athlete,”  says Otten.  “Obviously, he has speed to run and he can throw the football.  We haven’t had too many players go both ways at that position here recently with Austin (Bruns), but he wants to do it.  He’s that kind of player and competitor.”

And with a large senior class departing after last year’s title there’ll be some auditioning for positions around him.  New faces on the offensive and defensive lines, and some new names at some of the skill positions.

“Our line may not be as big,”  says  Otten.  “We’ll have kids that are taller and rangy up front, and we’re going to get challenged right off the bat.  Our first four games are against playoff teams.  That’s what makes high school football so much fun.”

“We’ll have Mitch Schoenherr back,”  adds Hoying.  “He caught a lot of balls last year and Andrew Schwieterman will be back at tackle and defensive end.”

He expects good things.  He expects to win.  Unlike Redford in the movie, time is on Brody Hoying’s side.  You can’t overestimate the significance of being a state champion, of being that gifted, and having two more years yet to play.  Title in his pocket, he is the building block for another, a future milestone in Cavalier orange and black.

Brody Hoying is the “new natural”.

Gifted athletically, Hoying splits a pair of Liberty-Benton defenders in last year’s 38-0 state semi-final win.

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