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Waugh does it all for the Panthers

CHESAPEAKE – Josh Waugh is planning to be a doctor of radiology when he graduates from college.

Thursday, October 19, 2000

CHESAPEAKE – Josh Waugh is planning to be a doctor of radiology when he graduates from college. Right now, he’s a pretty smooth operator in high school.

Whether it’s running the ball, catching a pass, returning a kick, or playing defensive back, Waugh has been a jack-of-all-trades for the Chesapeake Panthers this season.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior only comes off the football field when the Panthers have a big lead and the reserves finish up.

Waugh leads the Panthers in virtually every category. He has rushed for 793 yards and an 8.4 average yards per carry, caught 13 passes for 198 yards, scored 96 points including 15 touchdowns, intercepted five passes, and returned two fumbles for touchdowns.

"He’s as good as anyone we’ve had," Panthers coach Phil Davis said. "He’s a big kid at 6-1, 6-2, has good speed, and he’s tough. He has a lot of athletic ability."

Chesapeake was 11-1 last season when Waugh was just one of several quality skilled players at Davis’ disposal. But with the graduation of players like wide receiver Robby Isaacs and quarterback Andy Clark, Waugh has been thrust into the starring role this season.

Waugh has eagerly accepted the challenge.

"I was waiting for the opportunity. I want it. I love pressure. I think it makes you perform better," Waugh said.

The bull’s-eye on Waugh’s chest was enlarged earlier this season when fullback Zeb Best was injured. When Best and quarterback Luke Beach were injured before the Belpre game, Waugh responded with 200 yards rushing.

"Waugh has stepped it up this year, especially after Best got hurt," said Davis. "He changed over to the other halfback, and for some people there’s a big difference from their right and left side. This year teams have loaded up on right side to stop him. It’s been tougher to gain yardage."

Actually, Waugh doesn’t think it’s been more difficult this season, mainly because of his teammates.

"I’ve got a lot of really good blocking this year. That’s been really helpful. I’ve been able to do the same things I did last year," Waugh said.

Davis said the yards came easier last season since Waugh defenses loaded up to stop Isaacs.

"The yards came easier for him last year because he was going against the grain and he was a little bit of an unknown factor," said Davis. "This year he’s the one they’re looking at. He draws crowd quickly. But it opens up a lot of other things, and he understands that.

"He plays hard and he wants the football. He blocks well when the ball goes the other way. He never goes out of the game. He’s on kickoff team and he’s our punter now."

Waugh said he doesn’t want to leave the game and he tries to contribute in every facet of the game in order to help the team win. He also knows leadership is an important area.

"The first thing you have to do (on defense) is stop the pass and not let anyone get behind you. We just want to get three-and-out (on downs)," Waugh said.

"You can be a leader anywhere on the field. If you step up and show leadership, the team’s going to follow you," said Waugh.

When Waugh finishes at Chesapeake, he is planning to follow his dream to play college football. He has had serious talks with Miami of Ohio and Marshall has shown some interest.

"Miami seems to be awful interested," Waugh said. "It’s a beautiful place. I like it up there. And you’ve got hometown Marshall talking. Basically, I’ve narrowed it down to those two. There’s no other place to go. I’m going there for my education. That’s the main thing. If a school has what I want, then that’s where I want to go."