Defensive Player of the Year: ‘Being different’ pays off for Dulmage
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
December 22, 2013 12:32 AM | 3803 views | 0 0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Connor Dulmage
<BR>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Connor Dulmage
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
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CANTON — Connor Dulmage didn’t set out to be one of the top two-way players in the state.

Just like how he didn’t plan to lead Class AAAAA in interceptions (8) or interceptions returned for touchdowns (4). Nor did he expect to lead Cherokee County in scoring with 98 points.

It all just happened.

“Coming into the year, it was a little new,” Dulmage said, referring to the Creekview program under first-year coach Terry Crowder. “We had a new workout in the summer that definitely helped us all out getting bigger, faster, stronger. I think that was a big contributor.”

Dulmage, a senior defensive back and wide receiver, said a lot of it went back to the team’s motto for the season: “Let’s be different.”

“That’s just what we all tried to do during each game,” he said. “We just tried to be different than we were last year, and we got pretty close to accomplishing that.”

Dulmage said the only disappointment was in how the season ended, with a one-point loss to East Paulding in the first round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs.

Dulmage finished the season with 98 tackles, including 61 solo. In addition to his eight interceptions, he also forced two fumbles.

His offensive numbers were nearly as impressive, as he finished with a team-leading 55 receptions for 696 yards and 12 touchdowns.

In all, Dulmage reached the end zone 16 times and also scored on a 2-point conversion.

For his accomplishments this season Dulmage is the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Football Defensive Player of the Year.

Crowder said Dulmage is a talented enough player to have been a standout on any team he has coached — quite a complement coming from someone who coached a state championship team.

“I’ve just never been around anyone like him in my life,” Crowder said. “He would have played on any state championship team I ever coached. He makes everybody around him better, and he is a competitor, bar none.”

Dulmage said there was no secret to his record number of interceptions. Rather, it was just about taking an opportunity that was presented.

“This was really my first year playing safety,” he said. “I worked a lot on it over the summer going to camps and everything. Coach (Freddie) Foster is just a really good coach for us (defensive backs). He helped me be aware of where the ball was before it was there, so that I could be in the right spot.”

Dulmage said his background as a receiver was also an asset.

“Knowing kind of what the receivers think while they are running their routes, and then looking at the quarterback to see where the receiver is going to be, instead of where he is, made a difference,” he said.

Dulmage rarely came off the field, often playing special teams as well as offense and defense.

“If I needed a player, I knew I could count on him,” Crowder said.

As for his career after high school, Dulmage is confident that it will continue. He hasn’t committed to a college yet, but that time is coming. He is being looked at by a handful of schools including Colorado, Kennesaw State, Western Carolina, Samford and West Georgia.

Wherever Dulmage does land, he said he’ll be up for the challenge.

“I’m excited to get in there and get better and see what other athletes I’m up against,” he said.
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