Engine, engine No. 9.
That’s what Rummel junior linebacker Derrick Munson has been for the Raiders’ defense this season.
There are times when there seems to be more than one guy wearing No. 9 for Rummel.
Munson, the team’s leading tackler, was all over the field once again in Saturday’s 21-14 victory over John Curtis. The win gave Rummel the Catholic League title for a second straight season.
His biggest play came in the third quarter with Rummel clinging to a 14-7 lead. That’s when Munson stripped a Curtis ball carrier and returned the ball to the 1-yard line to set up a touchdown that helped the Raiders stretch the lead.
“They need me, I need them,” Munson said. “The offense was struggling, so I had to do what the defense needed. ... This was a big win. It’s been 50 years since we’ve played Curtis.”
Rummel coach Jay Roth wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“He does stuff like that all the time,” Roth said. “He did that all spring and does it all the time in practice. He is an aggravating player to practice against because he always does stuff like that.”
Rummel quarterback Chase Fourcade sees it every day.
“That’s just what he does,” Fourcade said. “He’s just a big-time player. He’s just one of those guys who does everything right. What you see him do in the game is what he does in practice. He makes big plays.”
And that practice has carried over onto the field.
He entered Saturday’s game with 100 tackles, the second most among players in the New Orleans area. The ball-hawking Munson came into the game with three sacks and two interceptions on a defense that has held all but one of its nine opponents to two touchdowns or less.
“I just listen to my coaches every day,” he said, “schoolwise and on the field. They tell me not to just be the best football player I can be, but also the best man.”
The colleges are starting to take notice.
He picked up his first offer last week from Arkansas. Plenty more are likely on the way for the guy who plays much bigger than his 5-foot-11, 185- pound frame suggests.
“It’s just a blessing,” Munson said about his success this season.
He credits much of his success to his early park ball days. He was only 6 but practiced against older players.
That’s also been the case at Rummel.
He started as a sophomore at safety, but Roth decided to move him to linebacker so he could be closer to the action.
It was a move that had to leave Rummel linebackers coach Cordae Hankton pleased.
“He plays hard like that, he practices hard like that, and he watches film hard like that,” Hankton said. “He is the motor of the defense. If he’s flat, everybody’s flat. But his explosive days far outweigh his flat days. That’s what makes him so special.”
He lists Ray Lewis and Tyrann Mathieu as his favorite NFL players. Much like those two. Munson wreaks plenty of chaos on defense.
“He just disrupts stuff,” Hankton said. “He flies to the ball. He’s a great player and an even better kid, Everything that happened for him, he’s earned it.”