By KEITH McMILLAN
STAFFORD – Corey Blue is having fun again.
That’s great news for Colonial Forge, a team that won the Commonwealth District during a 2002 season Blue did not enjoy so much.
”I have to be truthful,” the 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior said. ”We ended up finishing 9-2, but I didn’t have that much fun. Everybody thinks winning automatically equates to fun.”
Blue rushed for 861 yards and seven touchdowns, and added four more scores receiving and returning, all while he was struggling with his ”whole attitude toward the game.”
Following what he says was a summer of physical and mental maturation, Blue is smiling at practice, joking with coaches and teammates and loving football.
Colonial Forge head coach Karl Buckwalter said part of the reason things are brighter is because Blue has been on varsity since his sophomore season.
”I tell all the kids they’ve got to go through some rain to get to the rainbow,” he said. ”We opened the school and played a JV schedule, and we were 7-3. Then we went to varsity, and we were 2-8, then 1-8 before we went 9-2 last year.”
During those rough years, many of this year’s players were 15-year-olds going against 17- and 18-year-olds.
”[Corey] might say it’s a maturity thing,” Buckwalter said. ”But things are coming easier, more natural. He had to go through those growing pains.”
The pain is now dished out to the Eagles’ opponents.
Though Blue, a running back/free safety, runs about a 4.5 40-yard dash, Buckwalter says speed isn’t all he brings to the table.
”He’s a physical player,” he said. ”He can roam, come up and make plays. He’s had some big hits.”
Plus, says Buckwalter, Blue has the best vision he’s ever seen on a player. The coach recalls a play against Brooke Point where during a short gain, Blue turned sideways while two defenders smacked into each other.
”[Assistant] Rusty [Irby] looked at me and said ‘did you see that?’ I looked at him and said ‘did you see that?’ He’s different. Special different.”
Blue, of course, is okay being one of the guys. He’s reunited with the players he played with as a freshman, and says the team has a family-like bond.
”We’re all back together,” Blue said. ”My leading back Damon Beasley is back with me. That’s the main reason I’m doing as well as I am, him and my line.”
Blue is sure to mention offensive line starters Chad Cayer, Will Leighton, Ryan Pritt, Justin Graham and Chris Salas, as well as Justin Woodard, Jack Ferrick and tight end Josh Seelinger.
”The first five yards are coming easy,” said Blue, who is averaging 111.5 yards per game. ”The other five I have to work for, but they make it pretty easy to get the first five.”
The Eagles are looking for win No. 5 against 5-0 Massaponax on Friday. In its 4-0 start, Colonial Forge has posted two shutouts and outscored opponents 109-42. The Eagles have knocked off Stafford and Culpeper, two of the district’s most competitive teams.
I”m excited about this season,” Blue said. ”I think this will be our year, because we’re all having fun.”