West Stokes football season was one for the record books. After capturing conference championships in both the JV and varsity programs, coach Jimmy Upchurch was named WPAC coach of the year and senior Caustin Beckner defensive player of the year. Beckner tallied 151 tackles and led his team in sacks. Early in the season, he gave Wildcat fans a show with 18 tackles against East Surry. The senior went on to set a West Stokes school record of 377 tackles throughout his four years in the varsity program.
“I enjoy everything about it. What other sport can you go out and just hit people? There’s nothing better than that,” the athlete said with a smile.
Beckner began playing football at six years old with the King Dolphins before transitioning to the Prowler’s program.
“At an early age, I remember with the Prowlers we talked about doing the right things on and off the field whether it’s in the classroom or anywhere. I definitely think that stuck with me and it’s a big part of who I am,” he said.
The senior believes being a part of West Stokes football program has been a blessing.
“I’m extremely thankful. I think it’s made me who I am today. I’ve had amazing coaches who’ve taught me to be myself and play my game. They’ve helped me along the way and I really appreciate it,” Beckner said.
Looking back over the past four years Beckner believes the Friday night lights will always be memorable, but it isn’t the games he’ll miss most.
“It’s the everyday practices. It’s being around teammates and coaches and working hard to get better,” he said.
Beckner was all-conference his sophomore, junior and senior season and credits Wests’ coaches for his growth on the field.
“They have a tremendous knowledge of the game. I know so much more than I did early on and that’s because of them,” he said.
The 6’4” senior is now making an impact on the Wildcats basketball court.
“I’ve always played both sports and loved them, but I knew going into high school my best chance to play in college would be through football,” he said.
The senior is considering a number of college options and plans to make a decision in months to come.
Wherever he chooses to go, he has the support of his parents behind him.
“They trust me to make the right decisions. They’ve always pushed me to do my best and let me know its school first, then football.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.