Friday, November 19, 1999

Beechwood best when following List

Enquirer contributor

        Beechwood senior Ben List talks fast and runs faster. And the Tigers are better for it.

        List has done a little bit of everything in helping lift the seven-time Class A state football champions to a 10-2 record entering tonight's regional championship game at Bellevue.

        “(I'm) very intense,” List said. “(I) hate to lose.”

        List's numbers are good. He has scored 21 touchdowns and four two-point conversions for 134 points; as a tailback, 147 carries for 967 yards and a 6.6 average per carry; in two games at quarterback, he's 13-for-22 for 265 yards, two TDs and an interception; as a receiver, 12 catches, 264 yards, 22 yards per reception; and he has seven punt returns for 103 yards.

        On defense, List is a linebacker on a unit that has allowed just 68 points (5.7 per game) and recorded eight shutouts.

        “Benny is more of a leader because he's a senior,” Beechwood coach Mike Yeagle said. “And he's able to give us a little more when the play breaks down.”

        Yeagle has perhaps had to rely on List more than he wanted.

        List started the season at tailback, but he had to move to quarterback when junior Mike Nie when went down with an injury four weeks ago. Nie is healthy again, but Yeagle is leaving List where he is.

        “This is the time of year you want to keep your momentum up, and we feel our momentum is going in the right direction,” Yeagle said. “It's not all about passing.”

        When Nie got hurt, List was a natural replacement. He was the junior varsity QB in 1996, and he played that position for years on the Fort Mitchell Spartans youth teams before that.

        List said he is exactly the opposite in temperament from older brother Joey, a tight end on Beechwood's 1997 title team.

        “We're totally different,” Ben said. “I'm more vocal. He's quieter; he didn't say anything before a game.”

        List said playing tailback this year was fine with him, and he said the transition to quarterback was easy.

        “The whole summer I played quarterback,” he said.

        List's aggression on the field nearly turned to disaster a week ago. Late in the third quarter of last Friday's 29-0 second-round win over Ludlow, List rolled out toward his bench when he and a Ludlow defender collided.

        The result: a mild concussion that sent List to the hospital, though doctors cleared List to play tonight. List, who said he suffered some short-term memory loss, remembers the play but not a lot else about the game.

        “I tried to hit him head-on,” List said. “We hit helmets; my helmet's cracked. The first thing that came to my memory was, we lost to Bellevue 17-0 (earlier this fall), and that I was an office aide (at school).”

        Bellevue may be List's biggest test in 1999 because the Oct. 8 loss was perhaps his poorest performance. Beechwood gained just 166 yards that night — including only 65 in the second half — and List fumbled on three consecutive carries to open the second half and lost two of them.

        “They did an excellent job that night,” List said.

        When List takes the field tonight, he won't be worrying about statistics.

        “If I have 10 yards and we beat Bellevue,” List said, “I'll be happy.”


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