Trey Fleming simplified Silver Creek coach Mike Apodaca’s job in many ways.
Instead of constructing a lineup of 11 players for offense, defense and special teams, Apodaca had to worry about only 10. That’s because Fleming already was entrenched in virtually every package the Raptors threw out on the field.
Fleming is mostly known as a dynamic receiver, but the senior also started at cornerback, punter and returned kickoffs and punts for the 3A-champion Raptors. And now he’s been named the Times-Call football player of the year.
“He definitely had a nice numbers year, but it doesn’t give a full indication of what he meant to the team,” Apodaca said. “Through the first half of the season, I don’t know if Trey came off the field.
“We started to realize we needed to get Trey a break here and there. For one, so he can get some rest. And two, if he goes down you have four or five different positions to replace.”
Fleming didn’t mind the workload. He finished the season with 64 receptions for 885 and eight touchdowns, including two TDs in a 32-15 title-game win against Rifle.
His signature reception occurred in the opening drive of that game, when he acrobatically hauled in a 10-yard pass from quarterback Ben Sjobakken to put the Bears, who entered 13-0, immediately on their heels.
“I don’t remember the exact emotions, because the emotions were crazy, but I definitely think it was a key part of the game,” Fleming said. “I had a really good feeling going into that game all week, just hungry from the loss from last year.”
The Raptors (12-2) were state runners-up in 2011 after a 14-7 loss to Windsor in the championship game. Few gave the Raptors a legit chance to return to the title contest with record-setting quarterback Austin Apodaca graduated and en route to Washington State.
“I think everyone was a skeptic at the beginning of the year, including ourselves,” Fleming said.
The Raptors opened 6-0, then retooled from a two-game skid to win their final six games. Fleming’s leadership was paramount on a junior-heavy team, as was his multifaceted skill set.
“It was definitely tiring at times, but I knew that the hard work was going to pay off,” Fleming said. “I just went wherever the coaches needed me.”
That type of team-first mentality stood out most to Mike Apodaca, who said Fleming’s willingness to block and defer to other playmakers when double-covered was just as commendable as his abilities.
“I think Trey would have excelled at any skill position,” Apodaca said. “If you put him at the running back position and gave him 150 carries, he would have had 1,000 yards. If he would have been our quarterback, he would have thrown for more than 1,000 yards.
“He’s just as dynamic a player as we’ve had.”
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