As the only four-year varsity player on the Osbourn Park football team, senior lineman Kevin Simpson has served many roles. One that his teammates are particularly grateful for is his ability to gauge the frustration level of fourth-year coach Brian Beaty.
When Simpson senses dissatisfaction, he tries to fix the problem before Beaty reaches his breaking point.
"He knows my mood swings," the coach said with a laugh.
"[After] four years, you can pretty much see what he looks like when he's not happy," Simpson said. "You can pretty much tell when he's getting frustrated. It's when he gets real quiet and just starts walking around. . . . You kind of have to be there to see it."
Simpson has seen it more than anybody. He not only started during the 9-3 and 10-2 district championship romps of the past two years but also was on the varsity as a freshman in 2001, when Osbourn Park went 4-6 for an eighth consecutive losing season.
"Not a whole lot of people can say they've been a four-year person on varsity," said Simpson, part of Yellow Jacket teams that have led Hylton in the past two region championship games. "It's a big source of pride for me."
So if there's one thing the first-team all-Cedar Run District defensive lineman and second-team all-district center can offer, it's perspective. Particularly to a rebuilding team that lost 16 players who earned some sort of all-district recognition last season.
"He's seen both sides," Beaty said, "where kids who have only been here the last couple years have seen the playoff thing but may not realize the hard work that was put in with those kids trying to get over the hump.
"I can't ask very much more of him. The kids look to him as our leader. He's just been steady ever since he's been here."