Bluefield’s Caleb Fuller had the unenviable task of following a pair of all-state caliber players at quarterback coming into the season.
Succeeding Carson Deep and Ryker Brown, Fuller was expected to bring his own flair to the QB position and with a largely different crew than his predecessors played with. Now, at the right time, Fuller appears to be hitting his stride.
Heading into the Beavers’ regular season finale against undefeated Ridgeview, Va., a win was necessary to keep their playoff hopes alive. Sitting on the bubble at No. 17, Fuller delivered completing 12 of 18 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown. For good measure he added 12 carries for 71 yards and three more touchdowns in a 44-24 win over Ridgeview.
For his efforts, Fuller has been named the Week 10 Lootpress Player of the Week by the Lootpress sportswriters.
The award is sponsored by Bodyworks, The Law Offices of Brandon Steele and Mid-State Ford.
Five weeks into the season, Fuller, mostly a pocket passer, had just one rushing touchdown. With all-state running back Amir Hairston sidelined for the season following an injury in Week 4, Fuller was slowly integrated more into the run game.
He’s excelled, scoring nine rushing touchdowns over the last five weeks of the season, giving the Beaver offense a jolt.
“When Amir went down Gerrard (Wade) stepped up and became a big part of the running game and he’s done great with that,” Fuller said. “But (Hairston’s injury) was probably the main reason for me running more. We needed more help running the ball so that gave me a few more carries to just try and get positive yardage and that’s basically been the goal, to get me into positive yardage. As long as I’ve been running downhill the coaches like that.”
The wrinkle has also seen the Beavers utilize more empty sets, allowing Fuller to pick his matchups. If the Beavers can’t get a matchup they like, they at least lighten the box for Fuller to create with his legs. He did so Friday with a 20-plus yard touchdown run that was improvised and even stunned the senior himself.
“That was a pass play but nothing was open and pressure came so I just took off,” Fuller said. “I was surprised. I wasn’t expecting to score. I was just trying to get a few yards and I figure they would’ve caught me, but it definitely surprised me. Sencere (Fields) and Brayden (Fong) did a great job out there blocking for me.”
A self-described pocket passer, Fuller didn’t mind when his coaches asked him to run the ball more. In fact, he embraced the challenge.
“I liked the idea,” Fuller said. “I think I’m tough enough to where if we need a yard I can stick my head in there and get it. I liked the idea. I’d rather drop back and pass but I like sticking my nose in there and getting that extra yard we need.”
Fuller, along with the rest of the Player of the Week winners, will be honored at the Lootpress Winter Player of the Year banquet on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.
PikeView’s Austin Shrewsbury won the fan vote with over 54 percent of the vote. In an effort to reward communities for their diligence in voting for their respective players, Lootpress will take the top vote getter each week that hasn’t already won the Community Choice poll and advance them to the pool of candidates for the newly created Community Choice Player of the Year. When the regular season concludes, the 11 players that led in total votes their respective weeks will be grouped into a poll where everyone can vote on one player to win the award as well as the $500 scholarship that comes with it.
2022 Player of the Week Winners
Week 1: Kaiden Vance, Westside
Week 2: Darmonte Mitchell, Beckley
Week 3: Ian Cline, Greenbrier East
Week 4: Judah Price, Independence
Week 5: Ethan Holliday, Greenbrier West
Week 6: Ty Nickell, Greenbrier West
Week 7: Duke Dodson, Summers County
Week 8: Dominick Collins, Princeton
Week 9: Trey Bowers, Independence
Week 10: Caleb Fuller, Bluefield
2022 Community Choice Winners
Week 1: Cooper Ridgeway, James Monroe
Week 2: Layton Dowdy, James Monroe
Week 3: Khamrin Proffitt, Princeton
Week 4: Drake Cole, Summers County
Week 5: Jalon Bailey, Shady Spring
Week 6: Jackson Danielson, Wyoming East
Week 7: Duke Dodson, Summers County
Week 8: Malachi Lewis, Oak Hill
Week 9: Tyson Adkins, Summers County
Week 10: Austin Shrewsbury, PikeView
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