Evangel’s Bobby Bell doesn’t have a lot to say about anything. Trying to get him to talk about himself is like trying to get Ryan Lochte to clean a restroom.
But, boy can Bobby Bell ring your bell.
Last season, in a playoff game against Holy Cross, he hit a guy so hard on a kickoff he knocked himself out.
“I was out for about three seconds. Then I was back,” Bell said.
The Eagles went on to dispatch Holy Cross 42-7 with the 5-10, 182-pound Bell not missing another down of defensive football.
“Bobby is a blue collar guy, very coachable,” Evangel coach Byron Dawson said. “He’s not your biggest middle linebacker, but what he lacks in size, he makes up in scrappiness and heart. As a coach, those are the type guys you like to have a lot of. Bobby always plays with maximum effort.
Born at the Willis Knighton in Bossier City, Bell has been toiling on the Evangel football fields since the seventh grade. He started playing flag football in the YMCA league as a 3-year-old and has steadily gotten more and more active on the field.
But he doesn’t say much.
He started out as a quarterback and free safety and didn’t become a full-time defensive standout until he joined the Eagles’ varsity.
“I just wanted to play,” he said.
Now he’s the anchor of the best defense in north Louisiana, perhaps the state. The Eagles have already been picked as the top school in Louisiana for 2016 by one prognosticator. That’s in large part because Dawson has 9-of-11 starters returning off a team that allowed just 148 points in 12 games last fall against a schedule most coaches would have run from.
Bell doesn’t do a lot outside of his football workouts, although he admits to enjoying the trampolines at places like Altitude Trampoline Park in Bossier.
“I can do some back flips,” he said.
Bell plans to run the 200 and 400 meters in track this year and is a big fan of Usain Bolt. He watched Bolt’s 200-meter gold medal run on Thursday in the Olympics.
His favorite thing about football: “I like the contact.”
The Eagles were a surprise contender in District 1-5A last season, going 4-1 and coming within a mistake or two of playing for a state title.
“We swarmed to the ball. When we didn’t do what coach Dawson told us to do, that’s when people scored on us,” he said.
With a year’s experience under their belt, a now veteran Evangel defense may be tough to contend with this year, although playing Allen, Texas, and two-time defending champion Neville early may not show it.
“We expect to be better,” Bell said. “We are a family.”
Bell believes his offensive teammates will have a lot to offer this season, also, behind veteran quarterback Connor Curry.
“Our offensive line is improved and they will get the job done this year.”