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Catoe's ace play says it all

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By Robert Howey

Lancaster High School senior football standout Michael Catoe lets his actions speak for his success.Catoe, a three-sport ace at LHS, is soft-spoken with his signature smile, but on the field his play speaks volumes of a talented, versatile player.“He’s the total package,” said LHS head football coach Bennie McMurray. “Mike never says much, but he chooses to talk with his play and his body language says so much in terms of what he can do. He’s a multi-player in one because he can throw, catch, run and kick the football with near-equal success.”Catoe, a 6-foot, 165-pounder, plays wide receiver and handles the LHS punting chores. Through nine games, he has 11 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. As the Bruins’ punter, the two-year letterman’s averaging 37.3 yards a kick.“If we were in a dire situation, I’m sure we could get Mike to handle quarterback,” LHS assistant coach Joe Watson said. “He can do it all and do it well.”Watson said he likes what Catoe can do with, or without the football.“If the ball is around him, he’s going to catch it,” Watson said. “What makes a difference with Mike is that he runs good routes, gets off the line of scrimmage well and gets open. He’s used what he’s learned in basketball about using his body to make him a better receiver.“If a runner breaks into the open or the ball is thrown to another receiver, Mike’s going to do the team thing and deliver a down-field block,” Watson said.When football is completed, Catoe will move to basketball where the three-year performer is coming off a solid junior campaign which saw him average 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals a game to reap all-county and team MVP honors.In the spring, Catoe will head to the diamond to where he reaped all-region laurels at shortstop. Catoe’s success doesn’t stop on the field. A National Honor Society member with the LHS chapter, Catoe has a 4.125 grade point average and is No. 30 in the LHS Class of 2009.“I don’t take much time off,” Catoe said. “I put all I have into it.”Watson credits Catoe’s parents, Charles and Lynn Catoe, for much of their son’s success.“They’ve instilled that kind of high character and discipline to maintain high grades and excel at playing three sports which is rare these days,” Watson said. “You hear this from time to time, but Mike is a student-athlete in the truest sense.”Catoe’s energy now is helping the Bruins reach a goal, ending an eight-year drought on missing the playoffs. LHS can take a solid step in that direction with a homecoming win over Ridge View tonight.“Lancaster hasn’t done that in a while and we’d like to end that,” Catoe said. “We want to put Lancaster back on the map and we want to win.”The Bruins, 6-3, 1-2, are also bidding for their first winning season since the 2001 campaign.“Winning feels pretty good,” said Catoe. “It’s exciting and makes the game fun.”That “fun” is the product of work and dedication.“Teamwork and the leadership of the seniors have made a difference,” Catoe said. “We work hard in practice and I feel good about that.”Catoe is confident the Bruins can get back on track after dropping a 31-0 road loss to Rock Hill last week.“That game was disappointing,” Catoe said. “We didn’t show up. I feel we will bounce back because we’ve done well in games following a loss. I think we will do all we can to boost the team.”Catoe said he does his part in any way possible.“It could be a catch or a big block,” he said. “I just try to lead by example. I think that works pretty well.”