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ACCS senior has tunnel vision on the field, in the classroom

Adams County Christian School’s Tristan Beach, right, makes a carry during a drill Wednesday evening during practice at ACCS. The versatile senior has led the Rebels in tackles for a number of games throughout the season. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Stats may not tell the whole story, but in Tristan Beach’s case, they tell a lot of the story.

It’s not uncommon for the Adams County Christian School senior linebacker to lead the team in tackles each game. In fact, it’s happened three out of the six games the Rebels have played in so far this season.

His classroom stats are also positive; Beach said he has between a 3.5 and 3.7 grade-point average, and he always makes A’s and B’s.

Beach has tallied 60 tackles up to this point, but he said he’s not consciously trying to lead the team in tackling every week. In fact, he wasn’t aware he had done so in half of ACCS’s games.

“I love hitting and everything, but most of the time I try to break down and make sure I make the tackle and not mess up,” Beach said.

Breaking down means slowing down, squaring up and waiting for the ball carrier to go one way or the other before trying to make the tackle.

“If you don’t break down, most of the time you’ll miss the tackle,” Beach said. “You’re running so fast that they’ll cut back or slow down, or juke you or something like that.”

And the trick to making sure the ball carrier doesn’t fake you out is watching the player’s hips instead of his upper body.

“He’s trying to get you to watch his upper body, but when you watch the hips, they tell you which way to go,” Beach said.

It’s a lot to think about, but Beach said he enjoys playing linebacker.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Beach said. “You have to read and react. People think it’s one of the easiest positions to play, but it’s not. You have to read the (offensive) line and everything in front of you. You can’t wait to react, because that gives them a chance to block you.”

ACCS head coach David King said Beach’s play at linebacker stems from his physical style of play.

“He’s just a physical kid, and he’s a really knowledgeable football player,” King said. “He’s just a very good competitor. He really wants to win badly, and he’s a good team player.”

As someone who spends so much time thinking on the football field, Beach said it’s sometimes hard to balance school and sports due to all the information he’s having to process in both arenas.

“We’re learning so much new stuff every day in the classroom and football field,” Beach said. “You have to keep your mind right at all times. If you slip up at any time, you’ll mess up on the field and in the classroom.”

King said Beach has done a good job adjusting to the new defensive schemes the ACCS coaches are trying to install.

“It’s been tough on all these kids with all the different terminology and schemes (we’re putting in),” King said. “He’s done a good job picking up what we’re trying to do.”

When it comes to staying on top of his grades, Beach said some people can be a little naïve when they try to be a student-athlete.

“People think it’s easy to go out there and play all these sports and do school, and it’s really not,” he said. “You can’t just do one and not the other, because you have to put effort into both of them.”

After practice, Beach said he goes home and gets as much studying and homework does as he can. He also said he finds time during throughout the school day to get ahead on his work.

“Whenever I have free time, I usually take advantage of it,” Beach said. “I try to stay on top of my grades.”

Beach is the son of Chris and Stephanie Beach.