EDINBURGH — For Edinburgh head coach Bill Unsworth, the loss of senior middle linebacker Trent Tatlock after graduation will leave a gaping hole in his lineup next year that will be tough to fill.
Tatlock led Johnson County teams in tackles this season with 100 solo tackles and 39 assisted tackles in 10 games and has earned The Republic’s Edinburgh Player of the Year honor.
Unsworth attributed Tatlock’s success to his hard work and knowledge of the game.
“He is the hardest working high school kid I have ever coached,” Unsworth said. “He is extremely intelligent with great leadership ability.”
Tatlock also boasted two blocked punts, 3½ sacks, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss in leading the Lancers to a 4-6 record, their best since 1995.
Tatlock stressed the importance of becoming completely familiar with his offense and defense, allowing him to react instead of think.
“I’m happy with how this season turned out,” Tatlock said. “I was able to avoid any pestering injuries like I’ve had in years past, which allowed for my success on the field. Our team was really comfortable playing together, which helped us to improve.”
Tatlock was moved around to different positions his freshman and sophomore years on varsity, experimenting with cornerback on defense, as well as wide receiver and running back on offense.
Tatlock said he found his niche at middle linebacker because it allowed him to be involved in every play.
“He called all the defensive signals the past two years,” Unsworth said. “Kids looked up to him, and they knew he was going to work hard in practice and bring that into the ball game.”
Tatlock said if an opportunity arises to play football in college he would love to, but his academics come first.
When asked how they will fill the gap that Tatlock leaves behind, Unsworth said it is simply not possible.
“We won’t be able to bring in anybody even close to his ability,” Unsworth said. “We’ll have to find other ways to fill the position.
“You don’t replace a kid like that.”