He's a versatile impact player with the potential to change the course of a game every time he touches the ball.
Kyle Crocker wears many hats for the Brainerd Warriors football team. He leads the team in receiving, kick returns and scoring and is third in rushing. He holds for extra points and is one of four captains.
He rarely leaves the field, a fact which doesn't fatigue him.
"I do a lot of conditioning," Crocker said. "I'm in pretty good shape, I think."
In the season's first three games he has caught three touchdown passes, rushed for another and has taken a punt to the house. On defense, he has 10 tackles and a fumble recovery.
Position: Wide receiver, cornerback
Weight: 180 pounds
Other sports: Basketball, baseball
Career highlight: Playing at Metrodome in 2007
Grade-point average: 3.3
Favorite subject: Math
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Hobbies: Video games
Future plans: Attend college, play baseball, undecided on major
Favorite athlete: Deion Sanders
Parents: Mary and Bruce Crocker
Against Willmar he had a fumble recovery, 42 yards in kick returns, 86 yards rushing, 62 yards receiving and scored two touchdowns.
"He has the ability to impact a game in three ways," Warriors coach Ron Stolski said. "One, obviously, is with his returns. Second is his offensive play as a running back and receiver. I think his defense sometimes get overlooked. He's made a number of key tackles, open-field tackles, and people tend to not throw the ball his way.
"We tell the kids you never know when a big play is going to occur. Kyle is a big-play player. He made a big play on defense (at Willmar) when he took the ball out of a player's hands as he was running. It was early in the game and Willmar had a nice drive going after we fumbled.
"I think often his contributions can be overlooked. He has the potential for that 'Wow' factor every time he touches the ball."
Offensively, Crocker has caught 16 passes for 289 yards (18.1 average) and has rushed 10 times for 93 yards. He said defenses are aware of where he lines up.
"They're throwing me the ball a lot, giving the ball to me to run around the edge," Crocker said. "(Defenses are) yelling my name to know where I'm at."
On defense, Crocker is in his third year starting at cornerback. He had 44 tackles and two interceptions last fall.
"It's helped a lot," Crocker said of two previous years as a starter. "I can see the whole field. That puts me in the right spot."
On special teams, he has returned six kicks for 70 yards (18.3 average) and two punts for 37 yards (18.5 average).
"I just focus on catching the ball," Crocker said. "Everyone else does the work and blocks, I just run through them."
As if his plate wasn't full, Crocker has added holding duties on extra points and field goals this season.
"I was the backup last year, but it's going well," he said. "We haven't missed one yet."
He's also a captain with Kurt Fahlen, Tate Rusk and Taylor Main.
"I lead by example, mostly," Crocker said. "Kurt's our talker. I just go play."
This winter's basketball season will mark Crocker's fourth as a starter. He scored his 1,000th point last season.
Next spring will mark his third as a starter in baseball. He started at second base as a sophomore and played short and pitched last season.
The University of Minnesota has offered him a baseball scholarship. He made a recruiting visit at Saturday's Gophers football game against California.
"I'm leaning toward there," Crocker said. "I probably will end up going there, but I haven't committed."
Other notable efforts:
• Carsten Nelson, football, rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown against Willmar.
• Laura Goll, swimming, won two events at the Park Rapids Invite.
• Sydnie Mauch, volleyball, had 13 kills and 3.5 blocks against Tech.
• Katy Etterman, diving, won against Sartell and won the title at the Park Rapids Invite.
• Matt Sather, soccer, has two straight shutouts.
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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