Share This Page

Ben Young an emotional leader for Ford City

| Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Ford City senior Ben Young carries the ball during an intrasquad scrimmage last week. Young, who still start at fullback and linebacker, is an emotional leader for the Sabers.
Ford City senior Ben Young watches the offense from his linebacker position during an intrasquad scrimmage last week.

A muscular build, above-average speed and football smarts make Ford City senior Ben Young an impressive linebacker and fullback.

Young's most valuable asset, however, is his bravado.

The 6-foot, 195-pound two-way starter operates with a never-back-down attitude. Now empowered with his greatest responsibilities to date, Young is hungrier than ever for chances to prove himself.

“I like taking people out on the other side of the ball and basically taking my anger out,” said Young, who prefers defense but will see a significant increase in offensive involvement this year. “I've always been raised to hit hard and finish the play, more or less.”

Football has been Young's primary outlet for violent energy for most of his life. He played other sports — soccer, track and field, ice hockey. Nothing else met his needs, though hockey came close.

A season-ending ankle injury forced Young to stockpile his energy in 2010. Poised to see some varsity time as a sophomore, he suffered a broken right ankle while carrying the football during a junior varsity game against Kittanning Week 1.

“That was the worst thing,” he said. “I felt like I was letting down my team more than anything.

“I guess you could say I improved over that year with lifting and everything. I got my size up, so it wasn't exactly a downfall. I used that time to my advantage.”

Coach John Bartolovic suggested Young needed time to learn the speed of varsity football, due to his lack of a sophomore year. And to some extent, Bartolovic was right.

“At first, I didn't understand anything at all, because I had no knowledge of it,” Young said. “But I definitely thought I was up to varsity level by game two, because I got to know it. I could read the plays pretty well by then.”

Young ultimately earned first-team All-Allegheny Conference honors at linebacker.

He aims to repeat that feat this year. And he's hoping to become a bigger threat on offense now that he's at fullback — his natural position — after rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries as a wingback last season.

Young raised eyebrows in the first week of camp when he scored on a touchdown run down the right sideline during the team's first intrasquad scrimmage.

“He was more of a straight runner (last year),” Bartolovic said. “This year, he's made some good moves and had some nice open-field running plays. He was kind of a surprise out there with what he did. He didn't really show that at wingback last year, so that's a big plus for us.”

Young's two closest friends on the team, seniors Jake Scoccimerra and Cody Atherton, will create running lanes up front. Both look forward to what Young can accomplish with more carries. Whatever fires up Young often finds a way to spark other Sabers.

“He doesn't lead people with his words,” Scoccimerra said. “(Younger players) just look up to him and do what he does. They picture him as a hero, kind of. He instills motivation, inspiration.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wwest@tribweb.com or 724-543-1303 ext. 1321.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.