Brown looks for room to run

Indians’ Tanyon Brown catches a pass and looks for room to run during their homecoming loss against Brockway on Friday, Oct. 2.

Junior wide receiver Tanyon Brown of the Cowanesque Valley Indians football team was one of the best two-way players in the area for the 2020 season, and the numbers speak for themselves.

His season as not only a receiver, but also as one of the top players in the secondary has earned him the spot as the Gazette Football Player of the Year for the 2020 fall sports season.

“It means a lot, it just shows that hard work pays off,” Brown said. “It goes from barely playing at all freshman year and then kept working, and these last two years it started to pay off.”

As a player who is described as a coach on the field by the coaching staff, his spike in production paints a picture of a young talented player who used his offseason to improve. He attributed this offseason success to preparation and being determined to succeed.

“This is a great honor and will be greatly appreciated by Tanyon, but it is also a great thing for CV Football. Tanyon is a huge part obviously in building the program up and when one of our players gets acknowledgement for good play and success it is great for that young man and all the young men on our team,” Cowanesque Valley football Head Coach Mike Schmitt said.

“Tanyon is the kind of person who knows it takes more than just him to have success so he will give credit to teammates but he deserves every bit of this award. He also speaks a lot about wanting to have more success as a team even though he appreciates the accolades he has earned this year.“

Offensively, he was easily the top Northern Tier League receiver, hauling in 30 passes for 472 yards (15.73 yards-per-catch) to go along with six touchdowns and led the NTL in catches and receiving yards.

He is also revered by his coaching staff and teammates as one of the highest effort players on the field. Both Tanyon and Coach Schmitt pointed to his best play of the year being a block he threw that sprung a runner free during their matchup in Sayre this past season.

“Most people remember the long TD receptions or that high-point catch, but as a coach, my favorite play and quite possibly a big turning point for him was in our Sayre game when he blocked a kid with a big, clean hit and he knocked down three kids with one block,” Schmitt said. “We love throwing the ball and scoring, but we preach blocking to our receivers to help the team but to also set up the passing game and he has really embraced that toughness as a receiver and defensive back.”

On the other side of the ball, defensively Brown was equally as effective, racking up 23 tackles from the secondary and snatched three interceptions and even scored a touchdown during the year.

“He is really beginning to understand football on the back-end and helping our entire secondary improve which will ultimately help our defense and team improve,” Schmitt said. “During practice he has become a coach on the field with his teammate and especially with the underclassmen... He is coaching constantly and helping players understand what us coaches are trying to get them to do, he really is a good leader.”

Brown was extremely consistent on offense and was never held without a catch on offense, and never had less than two catches or 20 yards in any contest this season. He averaged nearly 70 yards and a touchdown per game.

“We preach to get better every day, there is always room for improvement and Tanyon understands that. I believe he will be a bit bigger and we are going to work on improving his top-end speed. His quickness is excellent but I think he can improve that open field speed which will help him get past that last line of defense. He is getting great at route running so being able to get over the top will set up the underneath timing routes,” Schmitt said.

Defensively, coach Schmitt still sees areas to improve, but the raw athleticism and ability is a big staple moving forward for the Indians in their 2021-2022 season.

“It’s all about your work ethic,” Brown said. “You have to be willing to work and willing to change whatever you need to change, no change will happen if you’re not willing to work.”

Heading into next season, the Indians will be looking to take the next step as a unit and compete at an even higher level. Brown expects the Indians and himself to be ready to challenge some teams that had their number this past year.

“The teams we didn’t hang around with this year, we’ll be able to hang with this season,” Brown said.

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