He does whatever it takes to keep the team on the winning track and he does it well. All the while checking his ego at the door. This Price is certainly right for the Flying Eagles.
He embodies the attitude that has Woodrow at 8-0 and rated No. 1 in Class AAA.
But it wasn’t always that way.
He was among the bevy of young sophomores forced into action in 2003 after the graduation of 22 seniors the year before.
Coach John H. Lilly remembers it well.
“He always gave 100 percent, but he made so many mistakes. That’s why I don’t have any hair,” the bald but bearded coach said. “He drove me crazy and I’m sure I drove him crazy.”
Slowly but surely, Price rounded into a player Lilly calls “one of my guys.”
“He made fewer mistakes the next year and toward the end of last year I could see him jelling into the player he is this year,” Lilly said. “And that’s an outstanding outside linebacker.”
He is silent but deadly for the Flying Eagles, who travel to No. 4 Nitro (7-1) Friday night.
His play should not be overlooked.
Price has 49 tackles and has broken up four passes. And he’s caught two passes, both for touchdowns, and recovered two fumbles.
He has come up with key plays, especially against Parkersburg. In the Eagles’ signature win — to this point — of the 2005 campaign, Price caught a touchdown pass and caused two fumbles.
“That was a big game,” Price said. “We were renewing the rivalry (with the Big Reds) and they were supposed to be better than we were. I wanted to come out and show them that we couldn’t be beat. We wanted to show that we weren’t the same old team.”
He appreciates the fact the seniors have come to the fore in 2005 after the team combined to win just seven games the last two seasons.
“It feels good to be back on top,” Price said. “I played with a lot of these guys in baseball and even midget league football. We were always good then. The last two years, we weren’t so good. But we’re back.”
Lilly credits Price with being responsible for freeing up senior linebackers like Adam Parkulo (108 tackles, 12 sacks) and Austin Peters (109 tackles).
“He’s largely responsible for a lot of things that have happened this year,” Lilly said. “He is the one who has to do the thinking. He’s the outside ’backer who has to pick up all the coverages. What we try to do is play man coverage, so he has to always find a certain person who he’s responsible for. So far, our second-team guys are not even close to his ability to do that. That enables Parkulo and all these guys to pin their ears back.”
Lilly said Price consistently grades out high on defense and special teams.
“Last week (a 34-7 win over Huntington) he blocked a punt, caused a fumble and a botched punt,” Lilly said. “He’s real aggressive on special teams.”
And he is deceptive for his slender build.
“He’s tough,” Lilly said. “He may look like he weighs 170, but he plays like he’s 190. The biggest thing is he’s mentally tough. He’s been sick all week, but he hasn’t missed a day of practice. That’s my kind of guys. I can’t deal with babies. I want to have guys who play hard, work hard and have some mental toughness about them. That’s Bryan Price. He’s a guy who’s going to play through stuff.”
He is looking forward to Friday night.
“I could tell this team was special throughout summer ball,” Price said. “There was something going around. Something made me think this was going to be a special team.”
And the team will remain egoless.
“All we have to do is remember what it was like to win two games,” Price said. “We do that and we remember what we have to do to keep this thing together.”