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East County Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009 10 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Justin Greenaway

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

The East County Observer and Bogey’s Restaurant and Sports Pub have teamed up to showcase the East County’s top athletes. Each recipient’s article will be featured on the restaurant’s wall.

Justin Greenaway recognized early that the key to a successful rushing attack is reading the defense.

“The hardest part about being a tailback is being able to find the right reads,” Greenaway said. “But once you make the right reads, then you know where to go.”

For the past three years, Greenaway has been focused on improving his knowledge of the game to maximize his ability to make plays in the backfield. On Aug. 22, the 14-year-old’s hard work paid off as he led the East Manatee Bulldogs Midget squad to a 6-6 tie against the South Tampa Titans in the annual preseason Jamboree.

Greenaway scored the Bulldogs’ lone touchdown and recorded 10 tackles and forced a fumble at linebacker.

“He was all over the field,” Bulldogs President Chris Mauk said. “He had a beautiful one-handed catch to set up the touchdown and he had at least 10 tackles. … He was a one-man wrecking crew on Saturday.”

Greenaway began playing football for the Manatee County Police Athletic League when he was in the third grade, but after injuring his knee, his mother made him quit. He began focusing on baseball before being allowed to give football another chance. Greenaway joined the East Manatee Bulldogs Pee Wee team and since then has worked his way through the system to become one of the league’s most versatile athletes.

“I just need to get better,” Greenaway said. “I’m going into ninth-grade next year, and I want to play high school football. But I don’t want to just play freshman football. I want to play junior varsity of if by some miracle varsity — even if it means I have to earn my position.”

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