Progress Correspondent

He is not the fastest man on the team, and he's certainly not the biggest player.

One thing is definitely assured, however. Andrew Rounds will be the busiest of all the Claremore Zebras.

A two-way starter a year ago, Rounds returns for his senior season. He and his new Zebra head coach plan to make the most of it.

"Andrew is an outstanding all-round good performer and he will provide us greatly with his leadership abilities," said Keith Bell, making his debut this season as the Zebras' coach.

A tailback last year, Rounds will still see some action at running back, but most of his time now will come at tight end in Bell's no-huddle, hurry-up offense. The move will allow Rounds (6-2, 175) to be the primary pass receiver when Claremore throws the ball.

On defense, he will return to his starting position at strong safety. While not making catches from his own quarterback, Rounds will be roaming the secondary trying to pick off the opponents' passes.

When it comes time for the Zebras to punt, Rounds will move to center for the deep-snapping duties. Coaches also will use Rounds on the other special teams.

Next, Rounds will drive the team bus and pick up towels in the locker room.

Well, OK, not really. But he would do it, if asked.

"His plate is going to be full, that's for sure," said receiver/linebacker coach Derby Kinnard. "He will probably be on the field for the whole game."

And that’s fine with Rounds.

"This is my senior year and I want to make it a good one to remember," he said.

"Coach Bell's new offense will be much better for us and we will keep the other teams off balance this year," he said. "I don't know, but in the past it seemed like after six or seven plays, the other teams knew what was coming. This year will be different.”

So, what about the new coach?

"At first, I was disappointed coach (Rex) Trent was leaving," Rounds said. "After all, he was here the whole time I've been playing. Then coach Bell met with the players coming back and we all got excited again. Everyone has responded to him. We all believe he will take us in the right direction. And his offense is fun to play."

Rounds has played football since the seventh grade. Due to his duties with the Claremore city park department, Kinnard has watched Andrew grow up.

"He is a special kid," Kinnard said. "Very polite and fun to be around. I know he has worked hard from the start to be a better athlete. It didn't take long before I nicknamed him 'Man Child' when he was back in grade school. He was taller than most of the kids, but it was his moves and manners that made him stand out and be noticed.

"He has a special talent. He has average speed and probably needs to get more physical, but Andrew always goes 100 per cent."

A starter for the Zebra basketball team, Rounds played in more than 40 AAU basketball games this summer as he traveled to places like Houston, Las Vegas and Kansas City.

He also was a member of the track team the past two years. Unless he changes his mind, Rounds said he will not do track as a senior.

For the time being, however, Rounds is getting set for Zebra football.

"My class has had about seven members move or transfer during the last couple of years,” he said. “I wish them the best and I don't have any hard feelings about it. I guess they just felt they could improve their football chances by going elsewhere. I do miss them, but the rest of us are happy playing together. We think we are going to be just as good."

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