The former Lakeview High standout played his third position in three years.
By JOHN KOVACH
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NEW CONCORD -- There are several reasons why Eric Foust of Cortland, a graduate of Lakeview High, has enjoyed so much football success as an offensive lineman at Muskingum College.
One of the factors has to be Foust's objective each play -- "I just want to get a pancake block every time. That's the best thing a lineman can do" -- asserted the determined and versatile senior, who played right guard this past season for the second straight year, after playing left tackle as a freshman and tight end as a sophomore.
Foust's determination to succeed on every play, he calls it his "personal motivation," earned the 6-2 265-pound blocker two major distinctions: He was a four-year starter and also made the All-Ohio Athletic Conference First Team all four seasons.
Finished strong: And although Muskingum had a lackluster record -- 3-7 overall and 2-7 in the OAC -- the Fighting Muskies finished the season under coach Jeff Heacock on a positive note with back-to-back wins over Heidelberg (31-7) and Otterbein (42-35).
Heacock, a native of Beloit and a West Branch graduate, completed his 21st year at the Muskingum helm.
And Foust anchored an effective line that paved the way for Muskingum's 322 yards of total offense per game.
Key elements: Foust believes his strength and speed also told the tale of his career.
"Weight training was definitely [the big thing]. I trained hard all summer and I was really in good condition," said Foust, also pointing out, "I'm pretty fast for a big guy."
He also cited his versatility, capacity to learn and the ability to use his hands against the defense.
He said versatility created starting opportunities for him early at Muskingum, because of the need for players.
"Graduation killed us in the first couple of years. [And] I was really versatile. I can play any position on the offensive line," he said of the openings that he was able to fill in his career.
Best seasons: He said the team's best record was 5-5 when he was a freshman, and that this past season was his best "just because everything finally came together. I finally used every thing that I could. My experience was a big [help]."
Foust said he pulled out of the line often to block.
"I did a lot of pulling. My quickness and speed helped me to do well pulling out. I was able to get there a little bit quicker than some other people," said Foust.
The son of Thomas and Debra Foust, Eric is majoring in business with a 3.2 grade-point average, and plans to graduate in May. He said he wants to "find something in sales," but that, "I'd love to be a coach some day."
At Lakeview, he was a two-way tackle under coach Paul Kopko."
More area ties: Foust is one of nine area players on the Muskingum roster.
The others are Michael Cullar (6-0, 205), sophomore linebacker, Ursuline High; Josh Lentz (6-1, 300), junior offensive tackle, Sebring High; and six freshmen: Hugh Frost (6-0, 280), offensive tackle, Ursuline High; Joe Antonucci (5-9, 165), center, Poland High; Geoff Presco (5-9, 175), tailback, McDonald High; Jim Antil (6-4, 180), quarterback, Lakeview High; Eric Davis (5-9, 180), defensive back, Salem; Joe Borg (5-10, 180), defensive back, Lisbon High.
Heacock also has two first-year assistant coaches with Youngstown-area ties in Dan Inglis and Brian Jenkins.
YSU connections: Inglis, from Austintown Fitch High and Youngstown State, coaches the inside linebackers; while Jenkins formerly coached at YSU.
Inglis played for YSU from 1993-96 and was a member of two national-championship teams. He won four letters, served as a team captain and won the Doc Spurgeon Torchbearer Award.
Inglis launched his coaching career in 1997 at Austintown Fitch High in football and wrestling. He then went on to Indiana University and then the Kansas City Chiefs, serving as a strength and conditioning coach for both teams.
Then he shifted to Lee Senior (N.C.) High School last year to coach football and wrestling.
Jenkins, who has been a coach on three national championship teams, including YSU, coaches the defensive line.
He was on the YSU staff for five years, beginning as a volunteer assistant at YSU in 1994, and advancing to graduate assistant in 1997. While at YSU, he coached outside linebackers, defensive linemen and wide receivers.
Jenkins went to Glenville State (W. Va.) College as defensive line coach and video coordinator in March of 1999. And in July of 1999, he joined Bob Stoops at Oklahoma as athletic video coordinator.