Bobby Coury might be a near-perfect example of the classic Phillipsburg football player.
The sophomore is not especially big – 5-foot-9, 170 pounds – to be playing inside linebacker. There are probably are faster linebackers in the Mid-State 37. And maybe others have flashier stats.
But there aren’t many who play their position better, as Coury once again proved in Friday night’s 43-14 thumping of Immaculata at Brooks Field in Somerville.
Coury recovered a fumble that turned into a Phillipsburg touchdown, shook up some Spartan ballcarriers with solid tackles, and led a Phillipsburg (8-0) defense that limited the Spartans (5-4) to nine first downs and just 171 yards of total offense. Indeed, Immaculata did not score against the Stateliners’ first-team defense. And that's two weeks in succession P'burg has held a talented offense to less than 200 yards total offense. Hard to lose when that happens.
Credit could go across the board, to a front four that dominated the line of scrimmage, to a secondary that largely shacked a collection of speedy Spartan receivers, or to linebackers who filled every gap and didn’t let Immaculata’s tricky spread fool them more than once.
But attention kept turning to Coury, maybe for the obvious reason.
“He likes to hit,” Phillipsburg head coach Frank Duffy said. “He’s a tough young guy who plays well at inside linebacker.”
Not just inside linebacker, as Coury will tell you.
“I want to be a the best Phillipsburg inside linebacker I can be,” he said, emphasis on Phillipsburg. “It feel great when you can make plays and I love flying around there.”
Coury credited linebacker coach Tim Slack with his development as a player, and it’s worth remembering that he was playing freshman football last fall. That’s a big step up, especially at inside linebacker, especially against the succession of spread-type offenses Phillipsburg faces that require quick decisions from defenders.
That was certainly true Friday as Immaculata put the game in the hands of its nimble 190-pound junior quarterback Patrick Frauenheim, whose running ability tested the Stateliners.
“We really had to shut down the power read and the quarterback,” Coury said. “He got by us a couple of times, but it was just a matter of playing Phillipsburg defense out there.”
Especially from a Phillipsburg inside linebacker as tough, sound and smart as Bobby Coury.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.