The Wilson Times

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 11:38 PM

Seeds of success grew in Midget league

By Paul Durham | Sports Editor

When Henry Trevathan was called upon to introduce board member Lee Gliarmis for an award from the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame, the legendary former Fike High football coach made a point to note that Gliarmis, a legend himself in the Wilson Parks and Recreation Department’s Midget Football coaching ranks, had coached 53 players on Wilson’s four high school football state championship teams in 1958, 1967, 1968 and 1969.

Such was the impact of the Midget Football program here, but Gliarmis, who led Five Points and Maplewood for a combined 37 seasons, was hardly alone in providing basic instruction to future high school and college players.

Trevathan, when asked about the impact of Midget Football on his Fike teams, quickly noted that the kids who played for Gliarmis, Park Avenue’s Walter Blake or Recreation Park’s Pinkie Jefferson were "used to winning championships from playing Midget Football.”

Walter Rogers, who coached at Charles L. Coon High in the 1950s, was a big proponent of Midget Football, too.

"I really think that Coach Rogers got with the coaches in the recreation league and (Parks and Recreation Director) Burt Gillette and got us in the fundamentals of blocking and tackling,” said Walter Brown, a former Recreation Park player who played for Rogers and was the quarterback of Fike’s 1958 state 4-A co-championship team.

Football, Trevathan reminded, always comes down to the fundamentals.

"That’s the name of the game — blocking and tackling,” he said. "If the game isn’t going right, it’s because of blocking and tackling.”

That was true in the ‘50s and ‘60s and it’s true today. Sonny West, an assistant coach at Fike now, helped coach his sons Ian, a starting defender for the Golden Demons, and Gage when they were Midget players.

Having had experience on both sides of the coin, West assured that the lessons learned at the Midget stage were invaluable throughout a player’s career.

"The kids that I see follow through (and play high school football), I know they know some basic things so we don’t have to teach them what a stance looks like,” West explained.

That leaves more time for teaching the game at a higher level.

"Then when we get them in high school, we can build on that,” West said. "You learn this field awareness, you learn how to take on a blocker, you learn gap responsibility.”

A look at the Midget all-star game rosters of 2007 and 2008 reveals many names currently on the three Wilson County high school teams, just as have so many other Midget players before them have done.

©The Wilson Times, Wilson, North Carolina.
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