West Valley senior running back and linebacker Bailey Sulzer comes in as the No. 2 ranked player for the 2018 Football Player Rankings. (Photo by Mike Daly Photography)
Bailey Sulzer might have had a more productive year, stat-wise, in his sophomore year. His impact last season, his junior campaign, went way beyond the stat sheet.
Heading into his senior season down on The Pasture, Sulzer’s importance can’t be understated and that’s why the 5-foot-11, 200-pound do-everything for the Eagles lands in the Shasta County Sports No. 2 spot of returning football players.
In 2016, Sulzer was 40 yards short of a 1,000-yard rushing season as West Valley went 7-5 and fell to Sutter in the Division III semifinals. In 2017, the Eagles tried to have Sulzer play only on offense and quickly started 0-4. In the Northern Athletic League opener against Yreka, Sulzer became a two-way player and the Eagles didn’t lose for nearly two calendar months.
“He totally changed out defense,” said longtime Eagles coordinator Jim Vert. “We don’t win the NAL if we don’t make that switch.”
In seven games on defense, Sulzer notched 56 tackles (45 solo), one sacks and 10 tackles for a loss at his linebacker spot.
Oh, and he still did a yeoman’s job on offense, rushing for 723 yards on 112 carries and nine TDs, while adding 122 yards receiving on six catches and one score.
“On defense, he reads the ball well and gets downhill,” Vert said. “On offense, he runs well, has good feet, is balanced and explosive.”
This year, the Eagles will again rely on Sulzer to be a two-way guy and lean on not only his playmaking ability, but his senior leadership.
“He’s a difference-maker,” Vert said.
Release Schedule for Player Rankings
Aug. 15 – Nos. 36-50
Aug. 15 – Nos. 26-35
Aug. 16 – Nos. 21-25
Aug. 17 – Nos. 16-20
Aug. 18 – Nos. 11-15
Aug. 19 – Nos. 6-10
Aug. 20 – No. 5, Bailey Small, Fall River
Aug. 21 – No. 4, Jayden Gordon, Foothill
Aug. 22 – No. 3, Leslie Cummings, Enterprise
Aug. 23 – No. 2, Bailey Sulzer, West Valley
Aug. 24 – No. 1, Parker Phillips, Anderson