By Brandon Speck
BALDWYN – Armontie Price is becoming the real-life “Waterboy.”
When Adam Sandler played Bobby Boucher in the 1998 film, he was a stuttering, heavy-Cajun accented waterboy for the South Central Louisiana State University Mud Dogs. Boucher eventually discovered a unique knack for tackling – using his frustration from being picked on – and became a fierce and feared linebacker, who injured everyone he took down.
“Hadn’t seen that in a long time,” Price said.
The movie was released nearly a year to the day of Price’s first birthday. Price, a freshman linebacker for Baldwyn (5-3, 2-0 Division 1-2A) has already made a cameo of his own. Not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a well-traveled Internet and ESPN clip.
When a skunk was caught on video streaking across the field in the 2012 Booneville-Baldwyn game, Price is seen … carrying water as a manager.
He has since received a promotion. Price leads Class 2A freshmen with 10.3 tackles per game, 82 on the season. He too has become an aggressive and fierce tackler.
“As a manager, I was watching and learning,” Price said. “I learned from the older guys. I see the ball. I just go attack it.”
He wasn’t the only one learning last season. No. 2 among tackling freshmen in 2A is freshman defensive tackle teammate Jimmy Tyes with 47. Price is sixth among all grade classes in 2A and second among freshman despite classification. Senior linebacker Marbrecio Crump is second on the team with 9.8 tackles per game.
Price and Tyes saw time in the final three games last season. Ironically, Price’s first big starring role this season came in Week 2 at Booneville, where he had 17 tackles – 12 solo.
Baldwyn coach Michael Gray says his freshman is still learning.
“He probably has a good nose for the football,” Gray said. “Playing linebacker, you not only have to have skill and talent. You’ve got to have a nose for it.”
Baldwyn, the Journal’s No. 1 Small School, has won three straight – averaging 48 points per game – and has three regular season games left, hosting East Union on Friday, then at Walnut and New Site.
The Mud Dogs eventually won the Bourbon Bowl, where Bobby was named MVP for throwing the winning touchdown on the final play.
The road to Baldwyn’s Bourbon Bowl – Jackson – begins in four weeks.