Top Athlete: Akise Teague
Is there any question which Mahoning Valley player stood tallest on offense this fall? Not really. Teague, who was awarded the Associated Press’ prestigious “Mr. Football” honor, posted numbers like no one else in leading the Irish to their third straight Division V state championship. On the year, the 5-foot-8, 176-pound senior gained 2,474 yards and scored 48 touchdowns, five in the title contest against Coldwater. The Irish finished 15-0 for the second time in three seasons and have played in four straight state title games. “It all went very, very fast. Before we knew it, it was playoffs [time]. I couldn’t have gotten this far, especially without my line and the rest of my team,” Teague said. When he wasn’t blitzing through opposing defenses for scores, Teague played cornerback. His biggest play of the season on the other side of the ball game in Week 3 against Div. II Mentor Lake Catholic. Late in the game with the Irish leading 14-10, Teague picked off Bryan Biondeaux’s final pass at midfield to preserve the win. That game was the closest the Irish came to losing in 2010. “I prefer having the ball in my hands, being able to change the game at any time,” Teague said. In addition to the title win against Coldwater, Teague cited the Lake Catholic, Steubenville and Mooney victories as the biggest. Teague’s football career began when was 6 when he was a member of the West Side Patriots. “I played quarterback when I first started,” Teague said, adding that was his only season behind enter. Teague admitted the Irish would practice giving him the ball and let him fire it downfield. “I impressed Coach [Dan Reardon] so much that we never ran that play.” Teague said he knew he had to step up his efforts when he reached junior high. “It was tremendously different because I got to a bigger stage [and] there were a lot of othe good kids surrounding me.” Teague said he learned much from the upperclassmen on Ursuline’s previous state champions. He cited Dale Peterman from the 2008 season. “He taught me everything I know about playing corner, how to play different coverages, how I should switch it up,” Teague said. Not surprisingly for a guy wracked up such tremendous numbers, Teague said his favorite subject is math. He’s weighing scholarship offers from big-time universities and says he has no idea when he’ll make his decision. He’s interesting majoring in business.