Like any kid who grows up playing football, Bryce Overholt dreamed of catching passes, scoring touchdowns, making the big plays that win games.
And as a two-year starter at tight end for the Southridge Suns football team, the senior likely will get his No. 80 called in passing situations, using his 6-foot, 200-pound frame for tough yards over the middle.
But Overholt knows full well his primary job in the Suns’ hard-running offense is carrying a heavier load — like, say, 200 pounds of linebacker —away from Kadin Diaz and the rest of the Southridge backs.
And he is more than happy to oblige.
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“Totally,” he said. “If they need me to catch a ball, they know I’ll do it. I’ll do it for them. But I enjoy blocking. I have a totally great time doing it.
“I have a great time seeing the team succeed.”
It is that earnest sentiment right there that endears Overholt to his head coach and helped make him a team captain.
“He’s been an awesome kid to coach,” said Tony Reiboldt. “Everything that you go through and make the decision, the qualifying factors for captain, he made every single standard.”
It’s a role Overholt takes seriously, passing along lessons he has learned to the next class of Suns.
He remembers what it was like being a nervous sophomore on the varsity, and wants to make it a little easier on the next group.
It is all part of being in a family — the football family at Southridge, something Overholt relied on last year when his actual family was having a crisis.
It was last fall when his little brother, Jaspyr, then 2 1/2, had a seizure and was flown to Spokane for medical care.
That was the day before a game.
Overholt’s parents encouraged him to play, and the team rallied around him with messages to Jaspyr scrawled on their taped-up hands and elsewhere.
“It was the scariest thing in my life,” Overholt said. “But that game, it pretty much just sealed the family members I have (on the team). It showed that no matter what I was going through, I had all these guys backing me up. It was huge.”
Overholt caught his only touchdown of the season in that game.
Though he finished the year with just seven catches for 103 yards, he was named honorable mention on the Mid-Columbia Conference all-league list, demonstrating his importance as a blocker to the running game.
It was just the start of a big junior year for Overholt, who went on to place fifth at state in wrestling.
He maintained his grades in the 3.3 to 3.5 GPA neighborhood, with an interest in (among other things) engineering.
This year could be even bigger, with Overholt also getting the starting call on defense at outside linebacker.
He figures to be one of the area’s top talents on the wrestling mats and has even gotten some interest from colleges for his grappling skills.
He hopes to continue his sporting days in college, but first comes making sure his final season with his “other family” bears some postseason fruit.
“I’m excited to step on the field and play with these guys,” Overholt said. “We’ve been waiting for (their senior season) since the eighth grade.”