Lisbon’s Abram Simms leads by example on Blue Devils defense


Simms leads the Blue Devils in tackles on the season from his linebacker position

LISBON, OHIO (WKBN) – Sometimes the best leaders on the field are not always the most vocal of leaders in the locker room.  Lisbon Blue Devils senior captain Abram Simms is showing his coach and team what kind of leader he is both on and off the field.

Simms, a 5’10, 240-pound linebacker has had a phenomenal year as he has led the Blue Devils with 69 tackles, 42 solos, one tackle for loss, and one forced fumble on the year, making him one of the top defensive players in the Eastern Ohio Athletic Conference.

“Whenever you can have a kid who is aggressive and reads his keys real well at the middle linebacker position, you have a nice anchor to your defense.  Everything on our defense runs through Abram,” Devils head coach Matt Altomare stated.  “Having him there as a senior, as a leader, and as a captain sets the tone for our defense.”

“He’s a nice kid.  He’s quiet, too quiet.  You can quote me on that,” Altomare said with a chuckle.  “He needs to be louder.  A little bit of a Jack Lambert loudness.  He’s quiet and a really nice kid.  He’s the kind of kid that others flock to.  And they try to emulate what he does.  He’s never missed a lifting session, and he has never missed a practice.  That sets an example.”

Simms admitted that he is not a vocal leader, but hopefully, his effort and determination are what the younger Blue Devil players will take away from what he does on the field.

“When we are in the weight room lifting, I go hard.  Hopefully, the freshman look at that and realize that I’m a good player.  Maybe if I lift like that I’m going to be that good one day too.”

Simms began the season with a bang as he racked up an amazing 25 tackles in the Devils season-opening game with Wellsville.  He followed that up with another solid game against a predominantly passing team in the United Eagles the next week with 12 stops.

“It was crazy, to be honest,” Simms remarked about the first game with Wellsville.  “I didn’t know until I came to practice Monday (after the game), coach Bell pulled me aside and told me that I had 25 tackles.  I didn’t know what to say.  I knew I had a good game and all, but I didn’t think I had that many.”

He also talked about how he adjusted his approach in the second game with United, “I slowly caught on to what passes that were going to happen.  They kept throwing to the same two people so I keyed to where that player was and when I saw the quarterback connect eyes with him I just started flying that way.”

Altomare added, “He truly is all over the field.  He has a great nose for the ball.  He’s aggressive and whether it’s a passing team or a running team.  Whether stopping the iso against Wellsville and making tackles against United when they have a big contrast in the kind of offense they ran, it just shows you what kind of player he is.”

Simms was quick to point out that his teammates upfront on the defensive line have helped him to be able to make many of his stops, “They help me a lot.  They plug the holes and I just finish up what they don’t get.”

“We preach that all eleven parts are moving as one,” Altomare said.  “Everyone has to do their job.  If the defensive line does their job, the secondary does their job, and the linebackers do their job, then good things are going to happen.”

On offense, Abram plays the guard position in the Devils spread offensive scheme.  He stated that he doesn’t necessarily have a preference for offense or defense, they both offer him the same opportunity to do the one thing that he loves about football.

“I get to hit someone on every play,” Simms said with a big grin.  “I like to hit.”

He also takes some satisfaction in seeing his teammates make scoring plays thanks to the work that he and the rest of the offensive line provide, “I love it, I love the fact that I had a part in that.  I know my name isn’t going to be in the paper because I block, but to know that I had a part in that just feels great.”

Simms is the youngest son of Mike and Michelle Simms, and he is not sure right now what he wants to do in the future.  He admitted that he has wavered back and forth on whether he wants to continue his education and playing career following graduation from Lisbon.

Simms and the Blue Devils will host the Valley Christian Eagles this Friday in an important EOAC game for both schools as they try to build momentum before the playoffs.  The Devils will be relying heavily on their ”quiet” leader in Simms to provide a stout defense the remainder of this season.

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