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Last updated: May 21. 2014 5:06PM - 564 Views

Wes McCard/The Thomaston TimesUpson-Lee freshman Kalen Puckett is one of the very few three sport athletes at Upson-Lee High School. In 2013-14 Puckett was the starting quarterback for the UL football team in the Fall. In the Winter he was the starting shooting guard for the Knights J.V. basketball team, and in the Spring he was the starting shortstop and a pitcher for the Knights baseball team.
Wes McCard/The Thomaston TimesUpson-Lee freshman Kalen Puckett is one of the very few three sport athletes at Upson-Lee High School. In 2013-14 Puckett was the starting quarterback for the UL football team in the Fall. In the Winter he was the starting shooting guard for the Knights J.V. basketball team, and in the Spring he was the starting shortstop and a pitcher for the Knights baseball team.
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Dylan Marshall is a junior at Upson-Lee High School on the Knights soccer team. He is an All-Region player and was recently selected to play in the Georgia High School DiVarsity All-Star next week. Marshall has several colleges taking a look at him, including Georgia Southern.


Q- Why did you choose soccer to be your sport?


A- I’ve been playing soccer ever since I can remember, but I can say that when I was about 10 years old and joined a travel soccer team, I knew that this was my sport. I was good, and our team was successful. I would say that’s probably the reason why I stuck with soccer.


Q- Do you miss playing any sports you have given up?


A- Yeah somewhat. I enjoy playing all kinds of sports with my friends, but competitively, it’s just soccer that I devote my time and effort to.


Q- Are you playing your favorite sport or the sport that will best help you get a college scholarship?


A- I would say both. I think if I keep improving everyday on and off the field, I will have a chance to use soccer as a way of continuing my education. However, I do feel if I would have started playing football when I was around my middle school years, I think I could have been pretty good. Not only would I have been a kicker and punter, I think my speed would have allowed me to play wide receiver or maybe even cornerback.


Q- Has focusing on one sport helped your chances or earning a college scholarship?


A- For me I believe it has. Focusing on just one sport has allowed me to play in many different tournaments and showcases all year long. If I ever feel I’m getting burned out, I’ll just take a break from the soccer field for a while, but that hasn’t happened yet. To get myself ready for next level competition, I think I need to put everything I have into the sport which I feel can best help me get a college education.


Q- When did you choose to become focused just on soccer and why?


A- I guess it would be about the same time, when I was 10 years old. Once I joined the travel soccer team, that’s all I wanted to do was be on the soccer field.


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David Gilbert is an 1987 graduate of R.E. Lee Institute and played wide receiver in football, guard in basketball, and pitched in baseball. Gilbert, who is widely known throughout the town for making “The Catch” which beat Upson High School as time expired in 1986, went on to play baseball and pitch at Gordon College.


Q- What three sports did you play?


A- Football, basketball, and baseball.


Q- Why didn’t you just choose to focus on one sport?


A- I played all three sports growing up and I loved each sport during that time of the year. During basketball season I loved it the most, during baseball season it was my favorite. That’s just what I have always done. I also never really had a mentor that directed me in any single sport. Back then not many people played just one sport, everyone who played sports usually played as many as they could. We didn’t have all of these travel league baseball teams or AAU basketball teams. We just played whichever sport was in season.


Q- Do you wish you’d focused on just one sport?


A- Looking back I say it would have been to my advantage to focus on baseball, but back then I didn’t think that way. I played for the fun of the sports. Back then playing at R.E. Lee, a small school, we needed all the athletes to play as many sports as possible. We didn’t have any travel leagues for baseball, which I feel kids are playing way to much of at such a young age.


Q- What was you favorite sport to play, and which sport were you best at?


A- Football was my favorite sport to play, but I was better at baseball. Football was a contact sport which I really liked. Baseball is more of a laid back sport, without the adrenaline that football has. I think a football team grows closer because of all the blood, sweat, and tears you accumulate together. We grew up around a legacy of football in this town, so everyone wanted to a good high school football player.


Q- Did playing multiple sports hurt your chance to play at the collegiate level?


A- Yeah I think so. Today there is an absolute advantage to focus on the one sport which you exceed at, but again I wasn’t even looking at playing at the next level, I was just playing for the fun of it. I also think the system today is set up better for that. Baseball prospects play all year long, Basketball players are in AAU during the spring and summer, and football players seem to be going to more individual camps throughout the year. To be able to play at a high level in collegiate sports, and play three sports in high school, you’d have to be a special type of athlete, someone like a Jeff Francoeur or Jameis Winston at Florida State comes to mind.


 
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