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'The Reverend' leading the way for North

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 2, 2018 at 10:10 PM

KINGSPORT — Passionate about his church and his faith, Austin Adams earned the nickname of "The Reverend” from his Sullivan North teammates and coaches.

On the football field, the bruising running back on offense and nose guard on defense will certainly knock the devil out of an opposing player. He plays on the defensive line with a ferocity that makes him prefer it over offense.

"I love running the ball, but I like being a nose guard and going wide open," Adams said. "There are no strings attached, so I prefer nose guard."

What people see on Friday nights is just a glimpse of what Adams is all about. As a football player, he leads by motivating teammates and setting an example, North coach Preston Patrick says.

"He's a vocal leader, but he backs it up," Patrick said. "He always gives maximum effort. He's a kid, when we have a practice go long and we're not doing well, he picks people up instead of putting them down. He's a positive leader. He knows we're not just having practice; we're trying to build towards a good season.

“He's mature for his years and understands what the process is."

Besides faith and football, Adams enjoys welding and competing on the North track team as a shot putter. While there is a constant reminder of proper technique in both sports, he enjoys the challenge football provides, especially on the defensive side. After all, the Golden Raiders may have to prepare for a Power-I offense by Hampton one week then scheme for a more wide-open attack from Happy Valley the next.

"I love the league we play in and the competition of being able to have barnburners instead of just winning easily every time," Adams said. "But it can be quite a challenge to come out here and change our whole defense in a week. We have to change how we line up, the structure of the defense, and then go out that Friday and execute it to play well."

Patrick, a first-year head coach, has taken over for longtime coach Robbie Norris, who resigned after last season. Adams said it’s apparent that Patrick has been eagerly awaiting just such an opportunity and he's hungry for the team to succeed.

Of course there is a lot of respect for Norris, and many things he emphasized remain intact, especially when it comes to family and honoring the tradition of North football.

Patrick feels Adams honors that tradition every time he steps on the field. And the player’s preferred side of the ball — defense — is where his coach sees him making the largest impact.

"At fullback, you know he's going to run the ball hard and block, but I think he's more valuable as a defensive lineman," Patrick said. "He plays low and hard and gets off the football. He causes problems at the point of attack."

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