Seymour is Dust Devils’ block of granite
Appeal Sports Writer
It’s all about the rush, whether it’s being part of it or defending against it. Or, as the home page of linemeninc.com reads, “All great teams start with great linemen.”
LinemenInc, a three-day summer camp for high school offensive and defensive lineman, believes that linemen are the last of the gladiators. And befitting such gladiators, the camp, held in California, bestows the highly regarded Champion Gladiator Sword to four players a year.
Brandon Seymour, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior offensive lineman/defensive end for the 10-0 Dayton Dust Devils, won one of the wooden swords for winning the camp’s 2006 defensive run category (it also recognizes winners in its offensive run, defensive pass and pass categories).
There are four garrisons and Seymour, who entered the heaviest weight division, found himself outsized by 300-pounders. The gladiators faced each other on a wooden plank, from which they pushed each other off until only Seymour was left standing.
To the victor went the spoils – in this case, the Champion Gladiator Sword.
“There are only 10 in the world like it,” Seymour said of the defensive run sword. “It’s something I wanted to win last year as a junior as well.”
Today Seymour, who lives and was born and raised in Virginia City (he received a variance to go to school in Dayton) and the rest of his Dust Devils teammates will try to win something they wanted to win last year as well – the Class 3A state semifinal game against Virgin Valley.
It is a rematch of last year’s semifinal game, in which the Bulldogs ended Dayton’s first winning season, 26-14, in Mesquite.
But this is a unique Dust Devils football team, having found several different ways to win each of its 10 games, whether its opponent is from California (such as Mammoth and Bishop Union, the Northern 4A (Wooster and Damonte Ranch) or from Spring Creek or Truckee (Dayton defeated both teams for the first time this year).
Whether it’s been defending its lead, coming from behind or winning in overtime (as it did against Truckee in the state play-in game last week), Dayton has been committed to win this season.
And, in the years it has taken coach Rick Walker to build this team, no player on the team has developed quite as drastically as the 17-year-old Seymour, who played as a 6-foot, 150 freshman and is now receiving recruiting attention from Division-I schools such as Colorado State and Utah.
Seymour began playing football in the fifth grade and after his eighth-grade team failed to win a championship, he came to a realization.
“The next day I decided that football is what I wanted to do with my life,” Seymour said.
So with the encouragement of his father Robert (a member of Virginia City’s Class B state champion basketball team in 1977 and 1978), Brandon began to work out with personal trainer Wade Ashby, now a junior varsity defensive coach for Bishop Manogue, at 24-Hour Fitness.
“I followed him although he’s changed gyms about four times,” Seymour said of Ashby, who now works for Maximum Results Incorporation, in The Stadium, in Reno.
“The biggest thing with him is that his commitment level is there,” Ashby said of Seymour. “He’s a fierce competitor who hates to lose. Four days a week I beat the crap out of him, and he comes back day after day. The product speaks for itself.”
The product, in this case Seymour, was also being put through the rigors of the Dayton weight-training program and football training. Ashby said the majority of his workouts with Seymour have concentrated on his core muscles and, through plyometrics and explosive-movement exercises, he has seen phenomenal growth in Seymour, both physically and mentally.
“He’s gained 110 pounds and grown 4-5 inches,” Ashby said. “His growth and maturity level – as far as the ability to get it out of him – it’s been very great to watch. I knew he had a lot of potential because of his size, but he can move for a big kid. He accelerated his own athletic ability.
“He’s now reaping the rewards of hard work. I go to his games, watch his highlights on TV. It’s very satisfying for me. I feel like a proud papa.”
As much as he’s gained in lateral speed, explosiveness and core strength in training with Ashby, Seymour has also increased his strength – and size – through weight training. He benches 365 pounds and squats more than 500.
“Seymour is probably one of the biggest kids I’ve played with,” said Dayton running back Erik Hopper. “He’s always been in the weight room, always working his behind off. He’s a big kid with a big heart.”
Seymour is also loyal and it was his friendship with Hopper, quarterback Travis Wood and linebacker Josh Avery more than the mileage in his variance (“14.7 miles from Virginia City to Dayton, 15.1 to Manogue,” said Ashby) that was responsible for his decision to play for the Dust Devils instead of the Miners.
“Wade hated me for a while, but he got used to it,” Seymour said of his decision.
Manogue’s loss was Dayton’s gain.
“You can tell by his build that he’s a big, strong kid,” Walker said. “In college he’ll grow to 300 pounds plus. His footwork has improved the most. He’s kinda getting used to his body.”
Walker said he asked Seymour, who finished second in the state discus competition for Dayton last year, to move over to offensive guard and tackle for him.
“Tackle is where they’ll look at him for college,” Walker said. “He has the genes to be there. He’s dominant on both sides of the ball. When he plays defensive end, nobody wants to come to his side of the field. This year our defense has stepped up. He’s one of the reasons why.”
Wood said Seymour has also done a great job on the offensive line this season.
“He’s really consistent with his blocking,” Wood said. “He has a no-questions-asked type of game. He’s a big part of (Dayton’s success).”
Seymour also felt like he was a big part of the Rams during his summer workout with Colorado State.
“They knew who I was – I didn’t have to sign in,” Seymour said. “I met all of the coaches. I had a jersey with my name and number on it. In camp I was on the offense the majority of the time, but on the last day the defensive coach came over and stole me.”
Seymour said he is “kind of interested in Utah,” but he’s not sure exactly where he stands as far as which college he’d like to attend.
“If I can play at the next level, I’ll play anywhere if a college is (giving him a scholarship) to play,” he said.
But Seymour has some unfinished business at Dayton first.
“Having the opportunity to play with Travis Wood and Erik Hooper has been a blast,” Seymour said. “It’s been fun watching those two play, to see how they’ve grown through the years. And it’s been fun to watch (junior fullback) Brandon Aguilera step up the last two years. He’s done such a good job, he’ll be the next one on the college recruiters list from Dayton, I guarantee.”
Although he feels he’s the product of several coaches – Gaylen Ford, Rich May, Butch Cattanach, Mike Burrows, Dave Avery and Walker – Seymour said he wants to especially credit one person for being there for him.
“I couldn’t do any of this without my father,” Seymour said. “He’s been a supportive person for me.”
NOTE: The Dust Devils will play the Virgin Valley Bulldogs (8-3) at 1 p.m. today at Dayton High School. The winner will advance to next week’s state championship game against either Sparks or Pahrump Valley at a site to be determined.