Hard-hitting Polk Kellam delivers for Episcopal

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Episcopal High LB/TE Polk Kellam (14) works in drills during practice Tuesday.
Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Episcopal High LB/TE Polk Kellam (14) works in drills during practice Tuesday.

Episcopal linebacker-safety Polk Kellam isn’t the kind of player who makes the heads of college recruiters spin. It’s a different story when it comes to opponents.

“He’s a headhunter,” teammate Weldon Rotenberg said. “He’s a guy who loves to hit people and he’d be in on every tackle if he could.

“You won’t catch him out of position very often. Even when that happens, Polk almost always finds a way to make the play.”

In last week’s 22-18 victory over Class 3A North Vermilion, two other Episcopal players made key defensive plays. Kydris Washington returned a fumble for a touchdown and Ty Williams clinched the win with an interception.

Kellam was the hard-hitting steady presence for the Knights (1-0). He finished with 15 tackles, including 11 solos in the nondistrict game

“I love playing linebacker,” Kellam said. “Especially with the guys we have on our defensive line, things have been opening up for me which allows me to make plays.

“I’m playing a different position this year. Last year I played more on the inside. Now I’m more on the outside, more like a safety on some plays.”

Kellam stands 6-foot and weighs 170 pounds and is in his second year as a starter for the Class 2A Knights (1-0), who travel to Plaquemine to play 1A St. John (0-1) at 7 p.m. Friday at Plaquemine’s CoPac Stadium.

“If our defense sticks with the system and game plan we have, I think we’ve got a pretty good shot at shutting the other team down,” Kellam said. “We’ve got a group of seniors back on defense. The offense is younger and they’re learning. We know they’re going to make plays for us.”

Kellam makes no apologies for being a good high school football player. While he would love to play college football, Kellam is making other future plans. He carries a 3.96 grade point average, plans to major in pre-med and lists Virginia and Georgia as his top college choices.

“I think Polk’s No. 1 attribute is his aggressive nature,” Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois said.

“For his size, he’ll come up and really hit you. When you look at him without shoulder pads and a helmet on, he looks like an average guy. But he plays a lot bigger when he puts those pads on.”

Bourgeois is quick to point out that Kellam isn’t one of those guys who turns it on once the lights come each Friday night. He also plays some tight end or wingback for the Knights, along with special teams.

Based on the current depth on offense, it’s not unusual to see Kellam play other roles at practice.

“If he’s not getting any reps on offense, Polk will slide over and play scout team defense,” Bourgeois said.

“You don’t have a lot of senior starters who want to do that. I love his attitude.

“He’s like a lot of our seniors. They’ve all played other sports here and been successful.

“Because of that, Polk expects this team to do good things.”

The start of the District 6-2A season is still weeks ago. You couldn’t blame Kellam or his teammates if they wanted to look ahead just a little.

East Feliciana has moved down from 3A to replace powerful University High, which moved up to 3A. Capitol is garnering some early rave reviews.

With other traditional powers like John Curtis and Evangel also gone from 2A, Kellam and the Knights are looking for bigger and better things in a select 2A playoff that includes 15 teams.

“We really feel like we can contend for and win a district title,” Polk said. “We know our district has a bunch of good teams. We’re taking it one game at a time. We want to go as far as we can.”