There are a lot of impressive numbers associated with Sam Crouch, the standout defensive end for the Buena Regional High School football team.
He’s 6 feet 2 inches tall and tips the scale at 200 pounds. He has 16 solo tackles this year and 28 assists. He has four tackles for a loss on the season, too. And his Chiefs had three wins and kept all but one opponent to two or fewer scores this season entering Friday night’s game at Atlantic City.
But the number that really stands out is the 10, for his grade.
Just a sophomore, Crouch hasn’t just proved to be a bright spot on the end of the Chiefs’ defensive line, but that there is a very bright future for him as well.
“He’s just a big, strong kid that runs to the football,” Buena coach Jonathan Caputo said. “He’s learning technique this year. He’s really learning how to play the position.”
Crouch is just enjoying his playing time.
“I’m excited, real happy,” he said. “I think I’ve done pretty well.”
Also a solid running back, Crouch has seen plenty of snaps on both sides of the ball this year. With his size, which is prototypical of a college or NFL running back, Crouch is a menace running between the tackles, and often delivers a punch when tackled that’s good for an extra yard or two.
But last year, even at 6 feet tall and 200 pounds, he was playing mostly freshman and JV games.
This year, he got his first taste of starting under the glow of the lights on a Friday night.
“I was anxious,” Crouch said. “You make that first hit and it all goes away.”
The coaching staff saw the promise in Crouch, and knew there would be a need at the position.
“We thought he would start, we thought he had the potential to be on the field,” Caputo said. “He works hard and he’s coachable.”
He’s also an athlete.
“Just his overall ability, we have to get our best athletes on the field,” Caputo said.
That’s not to say he hasn’t improved in order to earn his spot in the lineup.
“He’s got his mindset right, better than he did last year, and he works hard at practice and I think he’s very coachable,” senior lineman Ian Fike said.
And his standout play has had a ripple effect down the line.
“I know I can trust him and I know I can trust that he knows what he’s doing,” Fike said.
On offense, 6-foot-tall, 200-pound fellow sophomore Shaquille Scott has emerged as a premier ball carrier. The two 10th-graders are a sign of good things to come in the future for the Chiefs. But actually, that future is now.