Yashur makes most of opportunity
Not a lot of people know it, but Northern Lehigh's coaching staff seriously considered running a spread offense last season.
That's right. The program known for its smash-mouth running game was going to open it up. The coaches weren't sure they had a running back that could take the pounding that a Northern Lehigh running back gets exposed to.
At 5-foot-9 and 155 pounds, starting tailback Trevor Yashur didn't seem like someone who fit the mold. But after two scrimmages head coach Joe Tout scrapped the spread and went back to his program's bread and butter, with Yashur as his feature back.
"We had a lot of faith in him," said Tout. "But we weren't sure he could carry that load because of his size. And, he's pretty critical to us defensively. We knew if we lost him at corner, we'd take a big step back.
"He answered those questions. He was durable. He didn't miss any time this year. That ended up being a good thing for us."
Yashur carried the ball 18 times per game, piling up 1,311 yards on 216 attempts in 12 games. He scored 11 rushing touchdowns, helping his team reach a third straight district title game.
For all those accomplishments, he earns this year's TIMES NEWS Football Player of the Year.
"It didn't really dawn on me that I was going to be the next back that they give the ball to 20 times a game," Yashur said. "With Cody [Remaley] leaving, and all his yardage, I knew I had to step it up. I knew I had to fill that spot this year. I knew I had to give it my all."
Northern Lehigh implemented its spread offense in scrimmages against Marian and Lehighton, but had little success. In each game the team went back to its traditional offense with Yashur as the workhorse.
The first time was a fourth down and two against Marian.
"We went double tight end," said Tout. "Our basic C-gap play. We picked up five yards.
"Then the next week we went to Lehighton and we couldn't gain a yard [out of the spread]. We went to our normal package and we go right down and score. That's a credit to [Yashur]."
At that moment Tout knew he had a tailback that could take the physical abuse necessary for his team to be successful.
Yashur knew heading into the season that he had big shoes to fill. He followed the school's all-time leading rusher in Remaley, a two-time TN Football Player of the Year who is the third-leading rusher of all time in District 11 and career rushing leader in the TN area.
Yashur didn't aim to break Remaley's records. His only goal was to help his team win football games.
"It was more about us scoring, us winning, us driving the ball down the field," Yashur said. "That's all that really matters. It's more of a team thing. I had a good year, but it was more about the wins as a team.
"I owe a lot of this to the linemen for doing their job and working hard and making holes. I just followed them and ran the ball."
Yashur helped his team to a 10-2 season and return to the District Class AA title game, where it fell to Pen Argyl, the only team to beat the Bulldogs all season.
Heading into the season, Yashur and his teammates wanted to prove the program wouldn't suffer after the 2010 team went undefeated in league play and won a district title. They were disappointed with both losses and the fact that they couldn't bring a title to Slatington. But there are many players from many teams that would have loved to go 10-2 and play into late November.
"We wanted to go 10-0 again, but it was a tough season," Yashur said. "It was still a good season. We were a close bunch of guys. That connection we had brought us together and helped with the season we had."
Yashur might not have the size of a prototypical Northern Lehigh tailback, but he ran with power and speed. He didn't shy away from contact.
"That was our team this year," Tout said. "We were undersized, but I think we really had a tough group.
"Trevor didn't have the lateral speed, he is more of a north-south runner. He has good vision. He understands the play. He knows when to run it slow because it's going to open up. And he knows when to get the ball and go."
After seeing special teams action in his first two high school seasons, Yashur started at corner back as a junior and then played both ways as a senior.
Like so many Northern Lehigh players, he waited his turn and filled his role when the time came.
"He waited his time and he never complained," Tout said. "I'm happy that it worked out for him. I'm happy for him first and foremost just because he's a nice kid."