When high school football begins in Columbia County this fall, hundreds of athletes will take the field. The largest of them will suit up and head for the trenches. On the football field, the offensive and defensive linemen are generally the biggest players.
At Evans High School, Cameron Deborde won't be the biggest player, but he fits right in on the offensive line.
"He's only about 5-8, 190, but he's a three-year starter and the best blocker we've got," Evans coach Marty Jackson said. "He's compact."
Evans' Web site lists Deborde at 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 215 pounds. The starting offensive lineman confirmed the numbers and said he worked hard to beef up during the summer.
Still, when the season opens Sept. 1, he will be the smallest starting lineman in a Knights uniform. He'll line up beside bigger teammates such as tackle Josh Warner (6 feet 2 inches, 230 pounds) and center Chandler Simms (6 feet 3 inches, 240 pounds).
Despite his size, Deborde is one of the team's biggest contributors, Jackson said.
"He's got quick feet and is such a hard hitter," Jackson said. "I'd rather have a little guy that will knock the heck out of you than a big guy who can't hit."
Even though his size might not help, Deborde said he's comfortable on the offensive line. He's been in the trenches since playing recreation football as a child and at Evans Middle School. He fell in love with the sport after watching the South Carolina Gamecocks.
Deborde said watching those college games and making the climb through the Evans football program has shaped him into the lineman he is today.
"It takes hard work, and you have to be unselfish," he said of the lineman position. "My motivation is to see the points go on the board. Even though I didn't score them myself, I know I contributed."
This year, Deborde and the rest of the offensive line will be charged with protecting quarterback Kevin Millward. Though the linemen sacrifice their bodies each play, Deborde said the job is a little easier with a veteran under center.
"He's getting better reading the defenses, which means he's getting rid of the ball faster," Deborde said. "It's a lot easier then because we don't have to keep blocking for a long time. Plus it helps having his support. He always encourages us."
Deborde also will line up on the defensive side as a nose guard. The senior said that he got his start on defense, but moved over to offense to fill a hole.
"We had some people graduate and they needed me to go on offense," he said. "I'll do whatever helps the team."
Jackson said that attitude is what makes Deborde one of the biggest men on the team.
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