LINCOLN -- Noe Avellaneda never played football before sixth grade, but that all changed when he came to Lincoln.
His cousin, George Avellaneda, one of the stalwart blockers up front paving the way for Tyler Cummings' historic school record 415 yards on 34 carries with 6 rushing touchdowns during Lincoln's 41-21 Nov. 29, 2013, second-round playoff victory at Malvern, persuaded Noe to go out for football.
"George, he's my cousin, and his family is the reason why we moved here," Noe said. "My dad and his dad told him to come down here and move to this state so we came."
Noe's family was living in Alabama when the decision was made to relocate to Lincoln. Upon arrival the family needed a place to live so they stayed with George's family for the first couple of months. The relationship between the cousins and success George experienced as part of Lincoln's 2013 team, which earned the school's first-ever playoff win at home against Nashville (27-13) on Nov. 22, 2013, perked Noe's interest.
"And he (George) was actually the guy, who told me to come play football," Noe said. "He told me to play football and he kind of taught me the way, things about it, and that's where I really got interested in football. That's where I actually wanted to come in and join the team and I told him, I said, 'yes.'"
Just as he opened holes powering Cummings' success, George Avellaneda became a driving force and inspiration for Noe to play football.
"I never played football in my life until I got here," Noe said. "We talked about it and talked about it. He told me what position he played, and he told me what he had to do; but he also told me about the other positions. He told me what quarterbacks do, what running backs do, what receivers do. He pretty much explained the whole game to me and that's what helped me out to move me to play football."
The Lincoln sophomore is versatile enough to play a variety of positions, at 5-8, 180 pounds, helping the Wolves offense. He has lined up at tailback, slot receiver or even quarterback in a Lincoln uniform, plus handles the place-kicking duties.
As George told football stories Noe became interested in playing quarterback.
"Quarterback, I honestly, like playing quarterback," Noe said. "Quarterback has always been my No. 1 thing in football ever since I got taught positions. And I always felt I was a quarterback, but they put me at running back (in junior high) and that's fine; but they put me at second-string quarterback and I was fine with that. Quarterback is something that I've really wanted to play and I've always wanted to play quarterback. Tyler Brewer is a great quarterback, and I'm glad to have him back there. He knows what he is doing."
Noe's carries this season haven't been dramatic. He had just 20 yards on 15 runs through the first eight games, but if opponents overlook him that could be their undoing. As a freshman on the junior high team Noe ran 90 times for 728 yards, averaging 8.1-yards-per-rush with 7 touchdowns. He is a big fan of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliot.
"I have really been drawn to Ezekiel Elliot," Noe said. "Ezekiel Elliot is a hard runner. He knows what he's doing. He has a mind for the game and he's very smart. I love his burst of speed when he gets open and I love the way he cuts, when he finds the holes real fast, and I think that I have the same thing. I mean I pick up on the holes pretty fast and I just burst out of there."
During Noe's seventh- and eighth-grade seasons he backed up Brewer and played quarterback a lot in mop-up situations when the junior Wolves held a big lead. Former Lincoln offensive coordinator Tyler Dorton took Noe under his wing and taught him the mechanics of throwing a football.
"I come in and I practice quarterback. Tyler Dorton our coach from seventh grade, he was the one that got me into it," Noe said. "He was the one that spent time with me and got me to learn how to throw, how to release the ball, and how to do all that. So, that's where it started. I like quarterback."
Noe's completion percentage over the course of his eighth-grade season was 10-for-10 in a backup role.
"That season right there, when I get the chance to play quarterback I want to do the best what I can out there," Noe said. "Like I said, it's something I really wanted to play before."
Yearning To Pass
Noe's desire to throw the football and his capability has not gone unnoticed by Lincoln's staff.
"Every time I get a chance to go out there, I'm always asking Coach (Dorton), 'Can I go play quarterback?' and he says, 'yeah'; and he throws me in there so I want to do the best I can out there."
Noe was throwing to very capable classmates, athletic receivers Daytin Davis and Eli Rich. Both have played mainly defense this season, but Davis caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brewer against Shiloh.
"They caught some of those passes and they're really good," Noe said. "They're really good receivers and I knew I can trust them and I knew where they were running so I knew where to put it. They got the ball and they gained some yards. I'm pretty confident in those guys."
Noe got opportunity to throw the football this season on a trick play to start the Wolves' Homecoming game against Berryville. He completed a 42-yard pass to Blake Arnold and remains a threat to throw.
Lincoln head coach Don Harrison likes Noe as a place-kicker.
"(He's) got a strong foot, played soccer his whole life, so we use him to kick," Harrison said.
Noe has played soccer since he was four years old and his enthusiasm has not diminished by playing all those other football positions.
"I"m always playing outside and kicking the ball," Noe said. "When I turned six I got on a team in Alabama, and we just picked up weekend games, and that's where I started kicking."
Another star from the 2013 team, foreign exchange student Emilio Marrufo-Gonzales, holds the school record for field goal kicking. Marrufo made good on 10-of-13 field goal attempts with a long of 47 yards. His three misses were from 47, 42 and 41 yards. Marrufo successfully kicked 63 of 66 extra-points.
"I've heard a lot about Emilio ever since I started kicking," Noe said. "They always talked about Emilio. I've never heard about Emilio and I did a lot of asking around asking (people) if they've ever heard of Emilio. They told me he was the best kicker Lincoln ever had and this and that."
Those exploits stir Noe, who puts in extra work to perfect kicking extra-points and field goals.
"I've heard how far he kicked a field goal, and it does (fire me up)," Noe said. "I mean I come out here on the weekends, Saturday night or on Sunday night. I come out here and I kick. I come out here and I work on my roster. I just try to get better every day."
This season Harrison asked Noe to move into the "A" position, which is Lincoln's slot receiver, a little back that Harrison likes to bring in the backfield and give the ball.
"He's kind of our quick receiver out there," Harrison said.
Noe admits he experienced a learning curve in adjusting to the role. Yet, he is willing to help the team in whatever capacity he is called upon.
"Slot, it was a big challenge, it was really difficult to learn all the plays," Noe said. "I've been running the ball for three years since seventh grade to ninth and now they want me to play receiver and I was just like, 'OK,' but at first it was a little challenging learning all the plays. Now that I've got it, I'm gone. I'm learning."
Through eight games, Avellaneda has the second most receptions on the team (26) behind senior Sterling Morphis, who has 27 catches. Avellaneda has gained 267 yards averaging 10.3-yards-per-catch with two touchdowns. His longest receptions have gone for 27 and 22 yards with a 28-yard touchdown catch.Sports on 10/31/2018
Print Headline: All Over The Field