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Cunningham is ‘silent assassin’ in two sports

Photo: Amanda Feairheller

By Kelly Hart, Sports Editor

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Fairmont’s Varsity Football team has a not-so-secret weapon this year. Brendon Cunningham, the Firebirds’ all-star wide receiver, is blowing past defenders while racking up major yards and finding the endzone.

Cunningham is well-known for his Channel 7 “Play of the Week” vs. Alter. The senior ran the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and an early lead on the Knights. “I have always wanted to do that,” said Cunningham, “especially against Alter.”

What makes Cunningham such a threat on the football field? He can simply do it all. Not only is he a receiver, but he runs the ball, blocks, plays some defense and just this year started punting. “He never punted before and has really gotten good at it,” said Head Football Coach Brian Blevins. “It just came out of nowhere.”

Even as a junior, Cunningham showed tremendous talent. He broke two records in receiving: one for 58 receptions in a season and another for 979 yards in receptions. “He has great hands,” said Blevins. “He just has a knack to go get the ball.”

He’s just as good in baseball

Cunningham is a dual-sport athlete. In addition to his contribution to football, he excels as an outfielder for the Firebird Varsity Baseball team. Last year, he was all-conference in GWOC, first team for the conference and area, and the team MVP.

“I think his skills are equal in football and baseball. He is just a flat-out athlete,” said Head Baseball Coach Kent Drake. “It’s not easy to hit a baseball, but he is so athletic that is comes easy to him.”

Cunningham headshot

There is no doubt that Cunningham is a gifted athlete, but his talent also makes him an entertainer for the fans. “He’s fun to watch,” said Blevins. “He catches some impressive things.”

Sports may come easily to Cunningham, that doesn’t stop him from working to improve. He puts in extra time after practice to strengthen his skills. He usually works on fundamentals after practice and takes advantage of his time in the weight room. “I try my best not to let anyone down, especially not my team or my coaches,” said Cunningham.

‘He leads by example’

Most people who know Cunningham are aware that he is a man of few words, but he doesn’t need to talk to be a leader. “He leads by example,” said Drake. “His quietness makes him a silent assassin.”

It is no surprise that Cunningham’s coaches speak very highly of him. “He is your ideal athlete. He is coachable, hard-working, and he listens and dominates,” said Drake.

Cunningham owes some of his success in football to his teammates. His fellow wide receiver, senior Sherman Wilkinson, is also a huge threat. “They both make great plays, and it makes it hard to cover both of them,” said Blevins.

The great thing about Cunningham is that he just keeps getting better. “I see a lot of improvement in my game,” he said. “I’m faster and stronger, and I have better hands and smarter routes.”

Despite all of his accomplishments on the field, does Cunningham ever get nervous in game situations? “I don’t really get nervous anymore,” he said, “because I know what I have to do.”

5 Comments

5 Responses to “Cunningham is ‘silent assassin’ in two sports”

  1. Dexter Carpenter on October 2nd, 2009 9:22 am

    Great essay Kelly! You’re an excellent composer.

    [Reply]

  2. Kassidy Madliger on October 6th, 2009 4:04 pm

    Kelly!!!! I love you. :)
    Good story, by the way!

    [Reply]

  3. eric loeb on October 9th, 2009 10:49 am

    hahah

    [Reply]

  4. eric loeb on October 24th, 2009 7:40 pm

    Brendon is my hero.

    [Reply]

  5. Stacie Gilbert on October 26th, 2009 11:02 am

    Kelly, you rock :) oh and write so well :D

    [Reply]

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Cunningham is ‘silent assassin’ in two sports