Thursday, November 25, 2010
He spins and shimmies, jukes and jives, away from the line of scrimmage, toward the wrong end zone.
On the sideline, the Curtis coaches don’t bellow or wildly wave their arms to get Dockery’s attention. They have seen this show before. They are waiting to be amazed – again.
“I’ve learned to just let him be Rahmel,” Vikings coach Clay Angle said. “He’s really never made a horrible decision. He does things you can’t coach. He just has an innate sense on the field.”
One of the most exciting and explosive players in the state, Dockery is The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year in football.
For all his high-voltage exploits on the field – and there are many – Dockery exudes a gentle, private demeanor off it.
“He’s a very quiet, humble young man,” Angle said. “Goes to church twice on Sundays, very family-oriented. Some kids put up the numbers he does and they might be pretty arrogant about it. In a social gathering with his teammates, he’s usually quiet and in the background.”
His presence is front-and-center when opposing coaches draw up schemes in preparing to face Curtis.
“You try and come up with defensive schemes all week leading up to the game to make it as difficult as possible for him, but you know he’s still going to get his yards,” Bethel coach Gavin Kralik said. “He has a different skill set than anybody that’s come through our league in a long time.”
Dockery emerged as a playmaker the first time he touched the ball in a varsity game when he returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown against Puyallup in his sophomore season. He became a full-fledged sensation as a junior, scoring five touchdowns on punt and kick returns and piling up more than 2,300 all-purpose yards.
Opposing teams were fearful of him this season, choosing to give up field position instead of kicking to Dockery. He returned only 11 punts and just four kickoffs, but still managed to score twice on returns.
“Nobody kicks to him,” Angle said. “All of those kicks and punts that go out of bounds, our team is picking up huge chunks of yards. Some teams have punts of 10 to 15 yards just to not kick to him.”
Dockery still found ways to burn opponents on special teams. As Curtis’ punter, he has free reign to tuck the ball and run when he sees an opening.
In a winner-to-state game against Lake Stevens, he did just that. Leading 10-6 late in the first half, Dockery ripped off a 43-yard run on a fake punt that put the Vikings on the Lake Stevens’ 15-yard line. Curtis scored on the next play.
Dockery has piled up gaudy statistics via traditional avenues, too. He has 65 catches for 1,303 yards and 14 touchdowns and has rushed 45 times for 682 yards and three touchdowns. Heading into the Class 4A state semifinal against top-ranked Skyline at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dockery has piled up 2,414 all-purpose yard and averages 19 yards every time he touches the ball.
The sparkling statistics, combined with the team’s success – second-ranked Curtis is undefeated and making its first trip to the semifinals since 1996 – have made this an unforgettable season for Dockery.
“This season is the best experience I’ve had in football,” he said.
College football coaches have noticed. Dockery has scholarship offers from Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon State and Washington State, and Oregon, Texas Christian and Washington have shown interest. Dockery’s father, Steve, said that the Ducks and Horned Frogs have increased their recruitment of Dockery in the past two weeks, requesting more film and his academic transcript.
Dockery said some schools envision him as a slot receiver, others as a cornerback and all of them want him to have a role on special teams. He’s confident he can succeed at any position.
“Wherever they put me,” he said, “I’ll be ready.”
Doug Pacey: 253-597-8271 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/preps