Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Player Perspective: Vincent Burton
By Brendan Hall
Blue Hills junior Vincent Burton has made a name for himself with 48 rushing touchdowns since the start of the 2010 season.
CANTON, Mass. -- After rushing for a school-record 30 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore, Blue Hills running back Vincent Burton has become a name to behold among the lower divisions in Eastern Massachusetts. In spite of his lean frame, he packs a powerful punch, and it shows on the stat sheet with a total of 48 touchdowns to his name since the start of the 2010 season.
He was a catalyst behind the Warriors' 10-2 campaign a year ago, which ended in a loss to Shawsheen Tech in the Division 4 Super Bowl, and is the driving force behind the explosive offense this season for Blue Hills, which sits at 8-0 and atop the Mayflower Large headed into Saturday's pivotal showdown with league rival Tri-County. The Warriors are averaging nearly 35 points per game, have pitched shutouts in all but three contests, and have yet to lose a regular-season game since dropping a season-opening decision to West Bridgewater in 2010.
Still only 16 years old, the 6-foot-1, 180-pound Randolph native still has his best days ahead of him. Tuesday afternoon, after head coach Ed Catabia was awarded as the Patriots Coach of the Week, Burton sat down with ESPNBoston.com to discuss his success on the gridiron so far.
Q: You've had 48 touchdowns since the start of your sophomore year (2010), and you've yet to lose a regular-season game in two years. What do you credit for your success? A: "I credit the offensive line for my success. They do a great job blocking for me, giving me great holes, and I've just got to use them."
Q: Describe your running style for us. A: "Basically, I try to get as low as possible, and use my power. It's probably my best asset, that's basically it. I use my power to run through the holes. I hit it hard every time."
Q: How hard do you go in workouts?
A: "I go pretty hard, the whole team does. We do the basics, sprint exercises, stuff like that. The coach really tries to push us past the comfort zone, he always says. We do a lot of up-downs, like when we do cadence if we go offsides."
Q: In general, the Mayflower League is pretty run-heavy. How important is line play? A: "It's very important. It's definitely a very run-based league, so without a line, the team's not very successful. Last year, we had a great line, and the same thing again this year, it's why we have so much success."
Q: Do you see a lot of teams loading up the box on you? A: "Yeah, especially the last couple games. It's kind of slowing me down. I know sometimes they're putting all 11 in the box now, so it's hard. I've only scored two touchdowns in the last two games, and usually I'm getting like three [per game]. It's something I'm not used to, but as long as we're winning, you know? If that's what happens, then it's alright."
Q: Who's the best player you've faced so far? A: "Probably James Toles from South Boston. He's a very electrifying player. Power, speed, everything. He has the whole package."
Q: What about best team you've faced? A: "Probably Shawsheen, from last year in the Super Bowl. They were a defensive powerhouse. I mean, that was something else playing them. It definitely taught us that we had a good team going in, but we just have to work that much harder, and go the extra mile, to win the whole thing."
Q: You've got three games left in the regular season. What's the most important thing you've got to take care of down the stretch here? A: "We've got to win the league first. We've got Tri-County coming up this week, and Bristol-Plymouth on Thanksgiving. If we don't win those league games, then we're not going to the playoffs, so we have to take care of that. Then Greater Lawrence (Nov. 10), I think it's going to be a testing game, we'll be pushed to our limits. If we can win that game, that would be great for us and our mentality going into the playoffs, considering they're in a higher division."
Q: Where do you see yourself needing improvement most? A: "Definitely my speed. I know I might not look that big, but I've got the power down. I don't know how, I just do. I think it's basic mechanics from Pop Warner that I learned in the past years. But definitely my speed, I plan on working out a lot and doing a lot of speed exercises in the offseason to get faster."
Q: You mention about your power as a function of your mechanics from Pop Warner. Can you specify? A: "Basically, running speed, determination, all things I picked up. I played with Albert Louis-Jean from BC (former Brockton star and ESPN Boston All-Stater) during Pop Warner, he played for Randolph. I've played with kids all in higher divisions, Josh Brewster from Brockton, lots of kids like that. Playing with them makes me more successful here, I think."