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ALBRIGHT: Parkersburg High’s Bryson Singer already has a leg up in the Kennedy Award race

Parkersburg High quarterback Bryson Singer stands smack dab in the middle of the 2021 Kennedy Award race. He’s rooted to the front row, and in the bright spotlight for all of the Mountain State to see.

Save the Big Red Joe insults. Stop the doubting. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about this fact. After three years learning all the plays and a summer spent impressing with his top skills at college camps around the country, he could very well end up being the first PHS player winning the award since Marc Kimes.

But just being in the race doesn’t mean he’s going to be a winner-winner chicken dinner. Right?

Well, he’s certainly receiving help along his path from the schedule lying in front of him. If that’s sounding insane, it isn’t. “There are a lot of teams that have a tough schedule, and we are definitely one of them,” PHS head coach Mike Byus said. And with playing a hard slate, especially a diverse one filled with games across W.Va., comes several advantages, thus giving Singer a leg up.

First, of course, the easiest place to start comes with the caliber of talent Huntington, Spring Valley, Capital, Cabell Midland, Parkersburg South and the other teams regularly put on the field. Heck, Spring Valley had more kids out lifting in one session than PHS has out for the team. We are talking kids with the same speed and athleticism on par with Singer’s. Basically, he’s going to be working his butt off game after game in helping his group win.

Luckily, he doesn’t have a problem with that.

“Bryson’s an athlete who will play multiple positions and he will tell you himself that he can’t do this without his teammates. He is the ultimate competitor,” Byus said. Which just plays further into the fact that he’s going to look even more valuable as a single player. Basically, everyone looks better when everyone’s working together.

And as everyone is doing that, Singer and his teammates will have plenty of all the right witnesses.

Remember, we are talking about the Big Reds coming to town, so some of the top sportswriters for some of the biggest papers around the state likely will be covering the games. And Singer’s performance certainly will end up leaving an impact on them, stories that likely will spread around to other sportswriters in the area. Of course, this is a two-edged sword, because should Singer perform poorly then it is going to stand out more to voters.

That proved the case with his second-half struggles against Hurricane last season. But the reward more than outweighs the risk, because his positive performance against teams regularly planning for deep playoff runs, certainly screams he’s worthy of the reward.

Now, there may be some people out there who are complaining that it is too early to start talking about the Kennedy Award. Heck, there might be people who don’t even want to drum up attention for the award until the playoffs roll around. That’s understandable.

But, two years ago, Parkersburg South’s Brandon Penn finished one spot out of winning the Kennedy Award after the Patriots played a schedule that dwarfed that of the eventual winner. Perhaps, Penn didn’t get enough media coverage or exposure and that ultimately hurt him when it came time for the voting.

History won’t repeat itself with Singer.

“If he shines in this schedule, he deserves it (the Kennedy Award),” Byus said. “I expect him to do well.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com.

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