Blount is area's top athlete|Junior excelled in football, basketball and baseball

Published 2:55 am Sunday, July 4, 2010

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
PLYMOUTH — Nobody wanted to play the Plymouth this year. In all three of the boys’ major sports the Vikings were that dangerously inconsistent team that on any given day could rise up and knock off the best the area had to offer.
In football, the up-and-down Vikings were capable of losing two in a row, but could also come back and beat the No. 1 team around; and they did just that when they handed an undefeated Manteo squad its first loss of the season.
In basketball the trend continued, Plymouth finished third in the Four Rivers Conference, but went on to win the conference tournament and go all the way to the Sectional Round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
The baseball team was a little more consistent. Though the Vikings placed third in the conference, they were one of only a few area teams that won a playoff game.
In sports, inconsistency is a trademark of youth. However, rising up to the competition is a trademark of greatness.
Having just wrapped up his junior year, Ronnell Blount has both youth and greatness on his side, and his ability to lead teams to a higher level of play makes him the ideal choice for the Washington Daily News Male Athlete of the Year honor.
A running back for the Vikings, Blount, a WDN all-area first-team selection, rushed for over 800 yards before having to miss the final three games of the year with an ankle injury.
In basketball, the 6-1, 175-pound Blount posted 12 points and seven rebounds a night en route to being named the WDN all-area first-team small forward.
On the diamond, Blount, last year’s WDN first-team first baseman, built on his success from a year ago and batted .405 while driving in 24 runs.
Blount, who had a very successful sophomore campaign as well, said the key to his improved junior season was his stronger grasp of all three of the sports he played.
“I guess the biggest difference this year was having more knowledge of the game(s). This year it was just like everything was more clear,” Blount said. “I just try to go out and work hard and be the best player I can.”
Most three-sport stars have a favorite sport, but Blount, sitting in a room with all of his coaches, was very diplomatic.
“I like all of them,” Blount said. “I can’t say which one I like the best because I love to play all of them.”
Blount’s sturdy frame makes him a natural for any sport on he chooses to play, but the junior seems to be the most polished in football. Having the power to break tackles, and the breakaway speed to score touchdowns, Blount is the perfect fit for coach Robert Cody’s double-wing system.
“He can hit the hole pretty well,” Cody said. “Once he’s in the secondary he can out-run a bunch of people.”
In basketball, Blount uses his strength to grab boards, but has the finesse and grace of a scorer.
“He is a leader and he plays aggressive,” basketball coach Marvin Blount said. “He’s strong with his left hand. … He’s an aggressive scorer who attacks the basket; he really made a difference for us.”
While Blount flourishes in all three sports, he may have the most upside in baseball. The Vikings’ first baseman batted over .400 and had one of the better gloves on the team. However, coach Terry Perry said that there is still plenty of room for improvement.
“He has incredible bat speed; he’s definitely a middle of the order guy,” Perry said. “Ronnell really hasn’t even touched his potential in baseball. It just takes so many reps to do it, and when you play all three sports it’s tough. But, each year I have seen him get better and better.”
In all three sports, Blount uses different talents to excel, but Cody said there is one consistent quality that is transparent whenever he grabs a ball.
“He brings leadership to the table,” Cody said. “When you play all three sports you have to develop that.”
With one more year at Plymouth High School, it will certainly be fun to watch just how far that leader can take his Vikings.