Team effort: Seymour corner likes how players support each other

Seymour’s Gavin Blanton is a firm believer that it takes teamwork to have success in football.

Blanton, who is the starting right cornerback for the Owls this fall, said, “I have my struggles, but I know my team can get my confidence up and keep me going throughout the year.

“Mainly we go lock, and that means, ‘Do not let the guy beat you deep,’ don’t let him get the ball, do not let him touch it, don’t let him do anything. We hardly play any zone.”

Blanton has 20 tackles, one assist and three deflected passes this season.

Blanton began playing football his freshman year. He sat out his sophomore year and decided to come out his junior season, when he played in the secondary and on special teams.

“What I enjoy on defense is it’s a team unit,” he said. “We call it ‘swarm up.’ If someone runs to the outside, not just one person makes a tackle. We all try to get there; we just want to make sure he’s down. It’s a humongous team effort. If you make one bad play your team is there to pick you up.”

The senior likes the tough start to the schedule each year.

“It’s helped a ton because the way I look at it, if you play the best you’re going to get better,” Blanton said. “Teams that don’t really try, that are just there to be there; they’re not going to get any better. When you play the best you’re like, ‘If I play these guys more often I’m going to be great.’”

He said he thinks the Owls can have a winning record going into the sectional.

“We’ve just got to keep our confidence up, but not get too overconfident, and make sure we still work as a unit and don’t try doing our own things,” Blanton said. That’s what I feel weren’t doing well at the beginning of the year. Our confidence wasn’t very high.”

For Blanton, the weight room is where it all starts.

“The weight room is so important,” he said. “If you don’t work out and you’re a corner, these wide receivers and slots will beat you on the start, they’ll beat with their hands. You have to get stronger. You have to have strength to do anything in, basketball, football, track: anything.

This spring, Blanton will run sprints again on the track team.

“I love sprinting,” Blanton said. “You have to get a good start in the 100. You still have a chance to win, but your chances decrease if you don’t get a good start. I like the 200 because I think I’m faster. I don’t have a good start, but when I get going I think I’m pretty quick.”

A lot of Blanton’s successes have come in relays.

“The relays are my favorite of the whole thing,” Blanton said. “I love the 4×100. We made it to the regional the past couple years. In the handoffs you have to be perfect, or if not that half-second can cost you the whole race. My favorite lane is Lane 3.

Blanton said you have to work hard in practice and believe in your teammates.

“The mental part is you’ve just got to focus,” he said. “Don’t try to think, ‘Hey, I’ve got make sure he doesn’t get to the outside’ or ‘Hey, I can’t slip with my footing.’ The thing you look at is, ‘Hey, I can’t let this guy get past me,’ focus on him, focus on my hips. If you get down your teammates will pick you up; if the team makes a mistake you’ve just got to help pick them up.

“Practice is, by far, the most important thing. If you don’t try in practice you’re probably not going to be very good in the game.”

Blanton said he has enjoyed being a student at Seymour.

“I love it here — the atmosphere is great, sports are great, the teachers are great, and the coaches are great,” he said. “Some of the greatest moments of my life happened here. Winning track sectional — I’ll never forget that. Us turning around and winning five out of seven (football games) — I’ll never forget that. Once you make memories in high school they will last forever.”

At a glance

Name: Gavin Blanton

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Misti and Mike York

Siblings: Ayden, Delanie

Sports: Football, three years; track and field, four years

Athletics highlights: Track, 2015 sectional champions, two-time regional qualifier in 4×100 relay

Organizations: Future Farmers of America

Plans after high school: Attend Fontbonne University (St. Louis)

Favorite food: Ribs

Favorite TV network: ESPN

Favorite movie: “Never Back Down”

Favorite team/athlete: Georgia Bulldogs, Nick Chubb