Seaford is small in stature, large in performance
by Staff Writer
by Cliff Mehrtens
MOORESVILLE – Jesse Seaford plays football much larger than what he’s listed at in the program.
Seaford, a senior at Lake Norman High, belied his 5-foot-7, 140-pound frame with an energetic, efficient season at free safety. He is Mooresville Weekly’s Football Defensive Player of the Year.
Seaford made a team-leading 82 tackles, including 63 individually and four for losses. He intercepted six passes, broke up six passes and caused one fumble.
“I try not to think about my size,” Seaford said. “I just go as fast as I can.”
The plan was to start Seaford at strong safety, but an injury just before the season knocked out the starting free safety. Coaches shifted Seaford there, and it wasn’t a radical change since he played there last season.
“I like free safety more because I felt I could see the field better and react faster,” Seaford said.
Seaford was consistent. He had 14 tackles in the season opener against South Iredell, three games with nine tackles and one game with eight. His six interceptions came in six different games.
Lake Norman’s players voted Seaford the team’s most valuable defensive back/linebacker, and he was named to the I-MECK 4A all-conference team.
“It was easier moving him from strong safety to free safety than putting someone with little experience at free safety because for us it is kind of the quarterback of our defense,” Lake Norman coach Rob McNeely said. “He knew all the right checks and calls to give all our defensive backs and by Tuesday of any practice week he had what we wanted to do defensively down.”
Seaford said his highlight was beating rival Mooresville in overtime to end the regular season, after losing the past two games in the series.
“It was the way the crowd reacted and how they stormed the field,” Seaford said.
Said McNeely: “Jesse is not the biggest guy but he certainly makes up for that by having great instinct and just a knack for getting to the ball. He had 82 tackles this year and six interceptions after coming off last season when he broke his back. A lot of kids would’ve packed it in, but the kid finished his career with our program like you want a senior to go out.”
MOORESVILLE WEEKLY 2012 FOOTBALL Coach of the Year
Rob McNeely’s football team won the late-season games it needed to reach the postseason. Lake Norman High’s two victories in the final three games snapped a three-game slide, earned a playoff spot and made McNeely the Mooresville Weekly Football Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats were 5-7 overall and 3-4 in the I-MECK 4A conference. They beat West Charlotte 19-7 and rival Mooresville 27-26 in overtime of the regular-season finale to qualify for the postseason. Lake Norman lost (17-16) in the opener against South Iredell, which went on to win a state championship.