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Athlete of the week: Offseason work paying off for Kocmich this season

AVON — In the offseason, Brandon Kocmich dedicated himself to the weight room for his senior football season.

The extra commitment has paid off so far as the 6-foot-3, 200-pound running back has led Class 9B’s No. 1 Avon Pirates to a 5-0 start to the season.

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“Some colleges have expressed some interest and I talked to him last spring and said, ‘If you want these coaches to offer you some money, you need to put in some extra work in the weight room,’ ” said Tom Culver, adding Dakota Wesleyan University and Northern State University have shown interest in Kocmich. “He’s worked pretty hard, and it’s really good for Brandon and our program. I’ll be able to use him to show these younger kids coming back that the sky’s the limit if you put the time in.”

Saturday, Kocmich rolled up 378 rushing yards on 15 carries and recorded six touchdowns — a personal best — in Avon’s 44-24 victory over Canistota.

The game began Friday night but was postponed at halftime to Saturday afternoon because of lightning. Kocmich scored his first two scores Friday night — 12- and 70-yard runs — giving Avon the 12-6 lead heading into Saturday.

Kocmich recorded four touchdowns in the second half of the game, including two for more than 60 yards.

For his efforts, Kocmich has been named The Daily Republic athlete of the week, an award voted on by the newspaper’s sports staff.

This season, he’s averaging 20.6 yards per carry and has racked up 1,008 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns. But the senior said he wouldn’t be able to put up those numbers without Devin Tolsma, a junior running back.

“Blocking is a big part of it and he does a lot of it for me,” said Kocmich, who hasn’t decided where he wants to play at the college-level next year.

Culver agreed saying there are a lot of components to his offense that allow Kocmich to break away time and time again.

“Our line is doing a great job,” Culver said, adding Kocmich’s 378-yard performance is the best he’s seen in the 15 years he’s been in Avon. “They’ve really come together this year and opened up big holes. The defense can’t key on one guy because Devin and Logan (Mudder) are strong in the back field, too.

“Brandon’s success is a combination of those things.”

The undefeated Pirates are back in action Friday as they host Gayville-Volin at 7 p.m. in Avon.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.