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PREP FOOTBALL: Elizabethtown's Sublett is one pumped-up Panther (10/09)

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By Nathaniel Bryan

 

By NATHANIEL BRYAN nbryan@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — It wasn’t until he went to his truck after the game that Elizabethtown High School assistant football coach Jose Rivera realized something was wrong with Titus Sublett. To Rivera, Sublett is a wound-up ball of energy that bounces around and keeps his teammates and coaches upbeat. Only this time, it was Sublett who needed to be lifted up. A junior wide receiver and outside linebacker, Sublett made a catch during a crossing route in a 42-35 loss on Sept. 12 at Louisville Holy Cross. Sublett took a hard shot, helmet first, to his abdomen, and had people telling him on the sideline he shouldn’t go back in. “In hindsight, no, that wasn’t a good idea,” Sublett said before Wednesday evening’s practice wound down. “And the doctors kept telling me not to do it. But I wanted to play badly and my teammates needed me.” Sublett had to be taken rushed to a Jefferson County hospital after the game and missed the Panthers’ next game at area rival Fort Knox due to his deeply bruised abdomen. “I didn’t know Titus was that injured. I knew he had taken a hard shot on that pass, but I didn’t know he shouldn’t have gone in,” Rivera said. “But Titus was still going 90 miles an hour, trying to get it on every play.” Though he wasn’t in the lineup against Fort Knox, Sublett was on the sideline, keeping the Panthers’ spirits up. “The team needs that type of energy. I had to find a way to get involved instead of moping around and hoping to get in the game,” Sublett said. It’s that type of attitude that has endeared Sublett to his teammates and coaches. “Titus is the heartbeat of our team,” Rivera said. “He’s our energy. He’s always upbeat and he’s always positive no matter what we’re doing. He’s always going 100 miles an hour.” Especially on defense. Entering Friday night’s Class 3-A, District 3 game with visiting Louisville Moore (0-5, 0-1), Sublett leads the Panthers (4-2, 0-1) with two interceptions, is 1-of-7 players with a defensive fumble recovery and is fourth in total tackles with 36 (23 solo). “Titus is very coachable, which is a blessing,” Rivera said. “He wants to get better and he wants to listen, regardless of what he personally thinks.” On offense, Sublett is a great No. 3 option at wide receiver for senior quarterback Micheal Thomas, who also has seniors Chris Gohman (43 receptions, 795 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Trevor Deneen (30, 449, five). “I would hate to be a defender on the other side of the ball when Titus has it. You don’t know where he’s going to go and his speed is a tremendous asset,” Thomas said. “If you don’t chomp down and take a good guess which way he’s going, you’re going to get burnt.” It’s the big-play ability that makes it hard for Sublett to decide which side of the ball he likes better. “I like making people look dumb (on offense) because that gets my teammates pumped,” Sublett said. “But on defense, if you make a hard hit, that will still get people pumped.” Sublett, who also runs track and plays basketball for the Panthers, said he is among a group of Panthers – including Gohman, Deneen and senior lineman Josh Perkins – who lead the team emotionally. “We have to fire them up,” Sublett said. “We have a bunch of young guys on our team and sometimes they can act immature. So you have to keep them focused on winning.” But isn’t Sublett himself one of those young guys? “Yeah, but there’s a time to joke around and there’s a time to be serious. When I’m goofing off, it’s during a break in practice or in the game when I know I’m not going back in,” Sublett said. “But when I’m in the game or when I’m in practice, I’m all serious.” Nathaniel Bryan can be reached at 505-1758