Ronnell Blount: Winning
Published 7:43 pm Thursday, July 28, 2011
PLYMOUTH — “Winning” might have been the trendy catchphrase this year but with all due respect to Charlie Sheen, it was Ronnell Blount who was doing it.
The 6-2, 180-pound Plymouth senior turned in a year for the ages as he dominated in football, basketball and baseball, leading his team to co-Four Rivers Conference championships in each sport.
On the gridiron, Blount rushed for 1,814 yards and 28 touchdowns as the Vikings went 13-2, winning District and Sectional titles en route to the NCHSAA 1-A East Regional round of the playoffs. Blount, who runs with a great combination of speed and power, was a no-brainer choice as for WDN Offensive Player of the Year.
Plymouth’s football success carried over into hoops season as the school went 18-5 and added a District championship to their share of the conference crown. Blount was named a WDN All-Area first-team forward for the second straight season after he led the team with 11.9 points per game and a team-high 182 rebounds.
On the diamond is perhaps where his talents shone the best as he assaulted area pitching by hitting .496 with five home runs and 43 RBIs. That kind of production led Plymouth to 23-6 record, District and Sectional crowns and an appearance in the East Regional as Blount won the WDN Position Player of the Year.
After a year like that there was no way Blount would be denied his second straight Washington Daily News Male Athlete of the Year award, making him the first male to do so since former WDN sports editor Kevin Travis began handing out the honor in 2004.
Blount’s stellar prep career is a remarkable one, and begs the question of where he ranks among Plymouth’s all-time greats.
“Of the ones that have played all three sports, he’s up there with the top four or five, I can tell you that,” said Robert Cody, who has been Plymouth’s football coach for 28 years and has coached just about every sport at one point or another for the Vikes during his tenure. “Not everybody plays all three of them … Shawn Walker (basketball coach at Elizabeth City State) might be the best, but Ronnell is up there.”
Terry Perry, the Vikings’ longtime baseball coach and co-defensive coordinator of the football team, took it a step further saying, “He’s the best all-around athlete I have seen at this school in my 14 years here. To play all three sports and excel at the level he did, I don’t think there is anyone who could compare with him.”
In sports, what elevates good players into exceptional ones is the talent-to-hard-work ratio. Some athletes are loaded with talent, some are instilled with tremendous work ethic. Most good players have a healthy mix of both. However, to get on Blount’s level you must be off the charts on both sides of the equation.
All three of Blount’s coaches said that while they knew he might be a solid player when they saw him as a freshman, no one saw him reaching the heights that he has.
“No, (I didn’t think he would be this kind of player), but he just kept working and getting better,” Cody said. “That’s what you have to do. A lot of kids come in pretty good at the beginning and fade away. They don’t work quite as hard, but he kept working and getting better.”
“We kind of had an idea of what he could be,” Perry said. “But for him to excel at all three sports the way he has, I don’t think any of us thought he would do that.”
Marvin Davenport coached Blount’s JV basketball team for two years then followed him up to the varsity level, and like the other Vikings’ coaches, couldn’t say enough about Blount’s work ethic.
“Ronnell started with my as a freshman on the JV team and he’s always been a hard worker,” Davenport said. “He’s just so faithful as to what he’s trying to do. He works hard and that’s what makes him the kind of person that he is. He does a lot on his own.”
In Blount’s eyes, the sculpted 6-2, 180-pounder feels his abilities were a blessing and the same goes to his competitive spirit.
“I get it all from God,” Blount said. “I think God gives me all the strength to do everything. He gave me the ability to do it, so I’m going to do it.”
Blount likes to refer to himself as a go-getter and right now that is what he is doing as attempts to walk on to both N.C. State’s football and baseball teams.
Despite all his prep accomplishments, Blount, whose grades are solid, was lightly recruited in all three sports.
“I just feel like just because I’m in a (1-A) school they don’t look at you like that,” Blount said. “But I’m gonna go get it. Once you go there and they see what they missed you might change something, and I feel like I can be the a person that changes something.”
WDN Male Athlete of the Year winners
2011 – Ronnell Blount, Plymouth
2010 — Ronnell Blount, Plymouth
2009 — Austin Thompson, Washington
2008 — Travis Daniels, Washington
2007 — Lee Watkins, Washington
2006 — Gerald Lawrence, Washington
2005 — Bryan Haywood, Southside
2004 — Trimane Goddard, Roanoke