Better to Receive: 7-0 North gets boost from return of 2 top receivers

The Columbus North football team is enjoying its best season in more than 50 years, but two players weren’t having all that much fun during the month of September.

Jaylen Flemmons and Trey Vincent, the Bull Dogs’ leading receivers, were sidelined with injuries for most of that month. So when the juniors returned to action for Friday’s 41-13 win at Perry Meridian, they were more than thrilled.

“It was fantastic,” Vincent said. “Practice was boring not being able to play at all. So it was fun to be back.”

Vincent caught four passes for 28 yards in his first action since sustaining a concussion Sept. 9 against Franklin Central. He missed the next two weeks.

Flemmons hadn’t played since injuring his groin the week leading up to the Franklin Central game. Friday, he caught three passes for 52 yards and a touchdown.

“I was sick and tired of watching the team play the games,” Flemmons said. “It’s hard just watching your team knowing you can’t help them, so I just wanted to be back out there with them. (Last) week, practice was really tough, but the game was rewarding.”

Despite missing three games, Flemmons leads North with 20 catches for 278 yards. His six touchdowns is tied with junior Tristan Bailey for the team lead.

Flemmons is playing wide receiver full-time for the first time this year after growing up as a quarterback and defensive back.

“I like playing wide receiver because it’s a lot less pressure than quarterback, and we knew out of last year, we were losing three senior wideouts,” Flemmons said. “So I knew that I’d have to make the transition.”

Bless said he got Flemmons some snaps at receiver last season because he knew with senior quarterback Triston Perry returning, he would need to get Flemmons on the field in some capacity this season.

“We worked that plan last year, and then (Flemmons) trained at wide receiver all offseason and has certainly made that transition very smoothly,” Bless said.

Both Flemmons and Vincent were starters on the Bull Dogs’ basketball team last winter. But while Flemmons is a football veteran, Vincent is playing the sport for the first time since his seventh-grade year at Northside Middle School.

Flemmons was among those who talked Vincent into playing football.

“There was a lot of pressure from the guys around me to play,” Vincent said. “So I just decided to play this year. I definitely felt a little rusty when I came back, but I picked it up quickly. I didn’t really expect to do as well as I am.”

Vincent ranks second on the team with 17 catches and third with 207 yards. He has caught one touchdown pass.

Bless was thrilled when he found out Vincent would be playing football this fall.

“Every rep he got in the summer was huge, was invaluable,” Bless said. “He had played football back at the middle school level, but he was still away from the game for awhile, but he put the time and the effort in, and when he’s out on the field, his natural athletic ability shines.”

Coming into the season, wide receiver was the team’s least-experience position group. North lost last year’s starters, Alex Algee and Wyatt Barkes, to graduation.

But with the emergence of Flemmons and Vincent, along with Bailey and starting defensive backs/part-time receivers Harley Huser and J.D. Harris, the receiving corps has been one of the many strengths for the Bull Dogs, who are 7-0 and ranked No. 4 in Class 6A going into Friday night’s battle at Bloomington South for the Conference Indiana title.

“We had an idea we were going to be very talented at wide receiver; however, they had to prove it,” Bless said. “This was, coming into the season, probably our least-experienced unit on the field. Our entire receiving corps — they’ve all made plays, made catches, made touchdowns and have come up big. We knew coming in they were great athletes, but they weren’t game-tested, and they’ve certainly proven themselves thus far.”

The Wide Receivers

Name: Jaylen Flemmons

School: Columbus North

Year: Junior

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 195

Position: Wide receiver

Sports: Football, basketball, track

Favorite sport: Football

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

Other school activities: Student Assembly


Name: Trey Vincent

School: Columbus North

Year: Junior

Height: 6-foot

Weight: 170

Position: Wide receiver

Sports: Football, basketball

Favorite sport: Basketball

Favorite athlete: LeBron James

Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.