The story of Beechwood senior Brett Slusher’s feat in last week’s win over Newport sounds like an urban legend if you weren’t there to witness it in person.
In just 29 seconds, Slusher scored three touchdowns in three different ways against the Wildcats. The stretch started with a 4-yard touchdown run with 8:43 left to play in the first quarter. On Newport’s second play of the ensuing possession, Slusher recovered a fumble and returned it 18 yards for the score. He then had a pick six on the Wildcats’ first play of the next drive with 8:14 left to play in the quarter.
“We played Highlands a few years back and they scored three touchdowns in less than a minute on us, but I’ve never seen it by one player,” Beechwood coach Noel Rash said. “Brett’s always around the football. When he gets his touches, he has a high efficiency rate. He’s going to make plays.”
A fun but mostly meaningless sequence in a blowout game won’t be the highlight of Slusher’s season. But it is indicative of the versatility and disruptiveness of his game on both offense and defense, and shows why opposing teams have a hard time neutralizing him, regardless of their game plan.
“He’s a force on both sides of the ball,” Rash said. “Some coaches think they have to game-plan around him defensively, and some coaches think they need to game-plan for him on offense.”
In six games, Slusher has hauled in 26 passes for 474 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 178 yards and four more scores on just 16 carries. Beechwood doesn’t keep track of tackles as a statistic, but Slusher has scored four defensive touchdowns from his outside linebacker position, with two interception returns and two fumble returns.
His explosive play comes from his unrivaled speed and instincts. In addition to being one of the premier athletes in the area physically, he also plays faster than most of his peers because of his knowledge and feel for the game.
“It isn’t one thing with him,” Rash said. “It’s several things. It’s his speed. It’s his intellect for the game; he’s always around the football. And he’s highly, highly competitive.”
He continued: “Football just comes to him naturally. He has a great sense of the game; it’s innate.”
That feel for how to play developed out of a deep passion for the game at a young age, according to Slusher. His two older brothers, Brandon and Brady, were also standouts for the Tigers that played on state championship teams.
“I started playing football at five, right at the age I was allowed to play,” Slusher said. “I kept begging my parents to let me, and they agreed to let me play for the Spartans organization. Just being around two older brothers and being at football games constantly, I’ve always picked up on little things most people don’t notice while watching.”
Slusher is hoping to have the opportunity to continue playing the sport he loves in college. Last weekend, he made a recruiting visit to Knoxville, Tennessee, for the Volunteers’ game against Arkansas. He also visited Morehead State two weeks ago, and has been in contact with Western Kentucky and Cincinnati.
“The visit to Tennessee was awesome,” Slusher said. “It’d be an awesome place to play football at, that’s for sure.
Slusher has also received college interest as a standout on the baseball diamond for the Tigers during the spring, and the prestigious Midland program during the summer.
“I’m still on the fence about playing football or baseball in college,” Slusher said. “I’m just one of those guys who loves playing sports. It’s definitely going to be hard for me to choose one over the other.”