Sports Editor

Levi Richardson is one of those all-purpose, all-encompassing operatives who can single-handedly alter the outcome of a football game.

On offense. On defense. He is a two-platoon dynamo with a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for winning.

He can run. He can pass. He can tackle.

He is the quarterback who directed the Sequoyah Eagles to the Class 3A state semifinals as a junior, accounting for more than 1,400 yards total offense.

He is the leader of a secondary that held seven regular-season opponents to a touchdown or less last year.

“He is a great athlete,” Sequoyah coach Jody Iams says.

“Pound for pound, he’s probably the strongest kid in the weight room.”

Richardson is 6-1, 190, brimming with confidence, brewing with craftsmanship.

“He’s explosive. It’s exciting to watch Levi play,” Iams said. “He throws the ball well. He runs the ball well.”

And one other thing that Levi Richardson does well is to hand the ball to others.

In Sequoyah’s Wing-T offense, Iams likes to run the football.

And behind Richardson, there is a stable of strong and swift stallions.

Richardson has options. He can hand the ball to 1,000-yard rusher Corey Park or to the elusive Blake Breshears. He can hand the ball to the bullish Ty Jordan or to the even more bullish J.R. Row.

They line up and take their turns running over, around, and over opponents.

Four times in the 2005 regular season, the Eagles scored 45 or more points.

“The guys in our backfield are just absolutely amazing,” Richardson said.

“They work extremely hard. They love to play the game. And they’ll do anything to get that one more yard.

“They’re tough. Very tough.”

Richardson stopped during a workout one day to talk about his personal four horsemen:

Ty Jordan, 6-3, 215 — “He’s an extremely hard runner. He won’t go down.”

Corey Park, 6-3, 220 — “He ran for over 1,000 yards last year. He loves contact. He’ll do anything to get that extra yard.”

Blake Breshears, 6-0, 175 — “A great runner. He knows how to find a hole. He’ll make extra yards. Tough yards.”

J.R. Row, 6-1, 215 — “He’s probably known more for his defense. But he’ll put his head down and he’ll play some ball, too. I wouldn’t want to play against him.”

Richardson hands out praise like he hands out the football. Selflessly. Confidently. Without pause.

“This team has the best team unity you can ask for,” he said. “We’ve always talked about having great team unity, and that’s a key part of winning.”

Winning is something Richardson talks about with passion and determination.

“We expect great things,” he said. “We want to take it to that next level.”

That next level would be the state championship game. And the state championship trophy.

A year ago, the Eagles came up short to eventual champion Tuttle in the semifinals.

“As soon as the Tuttle game ended last year, we all came together,” he said. “We were, like, ‘We’re going to win. We’re going to work hard.’ And I think we all have.”

In a run-first, pass-if-you-just-have-to offense, Richardson knows what to do, when to do it.

He was asked which he preferred, the pass or the run.

“Whatever gets us a big ‘W.’ That’s all I’m worried about. Just a win. That’s all that matters.”

Richardson is not about individual accomplishments.

He talks like his coach, who flat-out expresses disdain for the star registry.

“We’ve always been a team,” Richardson says. “It’s not about an individual. Itís about a team.”

He did, however, confess to an occasional lapse in leadership when it came down to the discussion of individuals.

In the backfield, once he has handed the football to a running back, he sometimes might turn into something of a fan.

“Sometimes I just turn around and go, ‘Wow!’” he said. “It’s just awesome. They run something over here. Run something over there.

“Those guys are awesome.”

There is an awesome level to Levi Richardson, too.

“He’s a hard-nosed player with a good attitude,” Iams said.

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