By Craig Harris for The News Examiner
White House High junior Trey Hyde was a fixture on defense from start to finish, but it was his play on offense that provided an added boost for the Blue Devils over the team’s final five games.
Hyde – whose action at tailback increased due to both injuries and his performance – rushed for 728 yards and 10 touchdowns over the last five games, averaging better than six yards per carry.
At linebacker, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Hyde compiled a team-leading 134 tackles (22 solo), and 12 of those tackles resulted in a loss of yardage. He also had seven quarterback hurries and four pass breakups.
Hyde recently discussed a variety of topics, including his thoughts on this season and the future. His feedback is as follows …
What was your most memorable moment this season?
Probably the JPII (Pope John Paul II) game. Even though we lost (42-41 in overtime), that’s the first time we had played like a team since the Springfield game (a 39-8 loss five weeks earlier). That’s when we knew we were going to make it okay in the playoffs. That’s when we got back on track.
What was this season’s most disappointing moment?
That definitely goes to the (White House) Heritage (a 15-6 loss). It’s a rival. We didn’t play like should have. They wanted it more than us. It’s an in-town rivalry. It’s the most heartbreaking.
You didn’t receive a lot of work at tailback early in the season, instead seeing the majority of your playing time at linebacker. However, you became the primary tailback as the season progressed. Was it tough not playing many snaps on offense until the latter portion of the season?
It was a little disappointing. I was doing what was best for the team. Whatever they (the coaches) thought was best, that’s what I was going to do.
Once you started receiving the additional snaps on offense, did you enjoy the increased work load?
I enjoyed it a ton. I want to play every chance I can, get on the field as much as I can. I enjoyed it … even though I was a little out of breath every now and again.
After losing three of four games to fall to 5-3, how did the team turn the season around?
After (senior wide receiver and defensive back) Josh Mullins got hurt, it brought our team down. He was one of our main leaders. We started losing, and we realized it wasn’t acceptable. Practice started picking up, and we started stepping up as a team. That’s when it started coming together. We had one goal, to get to the playoffs and then to go farther than that.
What were your expectations entering this season?
Every season, we have great expectations to do the best we can. We thought we could go far. I think we did good for what we had.
If you could only play on either offense or defense, what side of the football would you choose to play?
I love both sides of the ball. I would probably play offense, because I’ve played offense since I was a little kid. I love them both the same. I just have more experience in the backfield. It would be hard to choose, but probably offense.
What’s the best part of playing football at White House?
The best part of is how we come together as a team. We have tradition. It’s the coaching staff we have and the community that backs us up. It’s indescribable how great they are.
What’s the best feeling you experience on the football field?
After you’ve played a really close and good game and the final seconds ticks off the scoreboard, that’s the best feeling. You have no energy left and find a way to keep going. There’s so much relief and stress on your body.
White House head coach Jeff Porter is your position coach at linebacker. What’s that dynamic like?
It’s a little bit tougher, knowing that he’s the head coach of the football and he’s your position coach. You know the kids he coaches should be the best on the football team. It’s a little tough living up that. It’s a little tougher, but I love having him as a position coach.
What’s something that people don’t know about Trey Hyde?
I work at Kroger. I work a good amount of hours I guess in the offseason.
What are your goals for senior season?
We want to go to state (championship game). We have a lot of people returning. That’s what we’re going to be pushing for. That’s definitely what we’re going to be trying to get to.
Your season ended with a 79-36 loss at Pearl-Cohn. What was that game like, playing against a talented team like the Firebirds that included the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year in senior tailback Ke’shawn Vaughn?
It was great playing against athletes of that caliber and that talent. It will prepare us for our region next year. It was definitely a different feeling than what we had all year, except for the Springfield game.
Portland used to be White House’s biggest rival, but who do you feel is your biggest rival now?
I think it’s grown to be Heritage. It’s 1-1 now. They are definitely our biggest rival.
Who are you closest with on the team?
It’s No. 70, (junior linebacker) James Whitby, No. 33, (junior linebacker) Denis Schaffer, No. 16, (junior wide receiver and defensive back) Lake Kirby, No. 10, (junior quarterback) Steven Rankin and No. 13, (junior wide receiver and defensive back) Luke Hopkins.
Do you hope to have the opportunity to play college football?
I’d love to play college football. It’s definitely a thought in my mind. I need to train more and go to more camps, going and trying to reach out to colleges.
Have you played other sports in the past?
When I was younger, I played basketball, baseball, soccer and football. I played them all until middle school. I played basketball and football all through middle school. My freshman year, I just focused on football. I decided that’s what I want to pursue and what I really love out of all of them.
What’s your wish list for this Christmas?
My biggest wish was for Bonnaroo tickets. I don’t think that’s going to happen. I had a little fender bender on my bumper. I need a new bumper. That would be a great present from Santa.
Do you have any superstitions or pre-game rituals?
I have to get my wrists taped every game. There’s nothing wrong with my wrists. I just feel incomplete without my wrists being taped.
Blue Devil head coach Jeff Porter’s thoughts on Hyde …
He’s a kid that’s highly respected by all of his fellow players because of the demeanor he exhibits. He’s a quiet person who works extremely hard. Watching his five-week run at the end of the season, it’s obvious that he motivates the people around him. He made some great runs in the playoffs, carrying people and moving piles. That motivates the linemen. Coach (Ryan) Hamilton (the offensive coordinator) did a good job with him offensively of understanding that when you are thin at a position on defense, you have to spread it out a bit, of not putting the entire workload on one kid. He helped carry our football team to be able to play a while.
We needed him on the field on defense. He’s a person we could not afford to be off the field. He works hard. One of his gifts is his mental preparation. Coach (Chad) Broadrick is the defensive coordinator, and he asks a lot of out his guys in the secondary and especially the linebackers, what adjustments to make against a given formation. Trey does a good job of knowing his responsibilities. That’s a credit to Coach Broadrick and Trey. They would meet every Thursday morning. Coach Broadrick would meet with all of the linebackers, (watching) film with that one group. At the end of the year, we played some no-huddle teams. You have to play fast, and you have to think fast. The games we played at the end of the year showcased Trey as a player. It allowed him the opportunity to exhibit some of his abilities. Exceeding expectations is (what he did), because he played 120 snaps a game (at the end of the season) instead of playing 60 snaps (earlier in the season). (Fellow linebacker James) Whitby was out in weeks 9 and 10, and we were really thin at linebacker. Trey was going to have to play every snap at linebacker and still play tailback. We were very limited and very fortunate to make it through that time. He steadily improved as the year went on. That’s the most important thing you can ask of a player. There’s no doubt that Trey was far better in week 13 than in week 1. That’s what you hope for every player you have. Credit goes to him, and credit goes to Coach Broadrick. He bought in and got the other players to buy into what Coach Broadrick was trying to achieve with him.
The Hyde file
134 tackles (22 solo)
12 tackles for a loss
7 quarterback hurries
4 pass break-ups
923 rushing yards
15 rushing touchdowns
5.7 yards per carry
67 receiving yards
98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown
Previous Defensive Players of the Year
2013 Brad Evans, Jr., Westmoreland
2012 Lane Troutt, Sr., Westmoreland
2011 Denzel Armstrong, Sr., Gallatin
2010 Whit Gray, Sr., Hendersonville and Joe Townsend, Sr., Hendersonville
2009 Whit Gray, Jr., Hendersonville
2008 Matt Parker, Sr., White House