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Sophomore Fodor leads by example for Bolts

Like most sophomore football players, Littlestown's Malachi Fodor isn't one to give rousing pep talks or speeches.

After all, he's still one of the youngest players on the team. He's also naturally shy, the kind of player who doesn't strive to be in the spotlight.

He's also already a captain.

Prior to this season, the Bolts players voted the sophomore lineman one of four team captains, along with seniors Tanner Noble, Wes Storey and Ben Snouffer. While Littlestown has 19 seniors on its roster, a majority of the team picked a kid fresh off his first season of varsity to have the coveted leadership position.

What makes Fodor worthy of the honor?

"He's everything you want in a football player," Storey said. "He's hard-working, he's dedicated, he hustles. He's respected by everybody, even as a sophomore. He accepted (being a leader) and we all just love the kid."

Added Noble: "He's probably one of the hardest working guys we've got in the weight room, or on the field."

Littlestown head coach Mike Lippy said the program has never had a sophomore serve as captain before. But when he looked at the results of the vote before the season, he wasn't surprised to see Fodor was picked.

In fact, he was pleased the sophomore's effort was recognized.

"That kid deserves it," Lippy said. "For what he does and the way he acts and the way he carries himself, the 50 other kids respect him the way they do. He deserves everything he gets. He’s just a quiet, humble, matter-of-fact kid. That’s just him.”

It doesn't hurt that Fodor is a pretty good football player, too. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound lineman played varsity as a freshman and starts at both offensive tackle and defensive end. He's one of the anchors of an offensive line that has helped the Bolts average 317 yards rushing during their 2-0 start.

At YAIAA football media day in August, Storey named Fodor as the teammate he'd least like to face in a game or drill.

"He's just a lot bigger and will really overpower you," Storey said.

Fodor smiled sheepishly when told of these praises. Soft-spoken and modest, Fodor would rather talk about the team's accomplishments than his own.

Still, he admitted he was thrilled to be voted captain. Having been home-schooled his entire life, Fodor has relied on football to make friends and deeply appreciates how much his teammates respect him.

"It was definitely special, I felt a lot of respect from my teammates," Fodor said. "(Being home-schooled) is different, they'll joke around with me about it, but it's fun. Football definitely helped me make friends."

Being a captain wasn't easy for Fodor right away. He had big expectations because his brother, Tyler, was a two-time captain for Littlestown in 2008 and 2009. Fodor credited the team's seniors with helping him adjust to the role.

He still believes he has room for improvement though. While he'll always be a player who leads by example, his biggest personal goal is to become more vocal.

"It definitely felt a little like a deer in the headlights, but I think I’ve grown a bit since getting voted captain," he said. "Definitely want to be more vocal as a leader. Once you get vocal, they’ll get hyped up too."

Lippy hasn't had any complaints with how Fodor has handled the role. While the Bolts vote on new captains every year, the veteran coach said he expects Fodor to continue to receive the honor.

"I can’t imagine he wouldn’t be (captain)," Lippy said. "He just works. He’s so respectful and team-oriented and cares about the other kids. He just wants to win and have fun and be a part of something.”