Blevins went to work during pandemic to get in shape for senior season


Harlan County senior Hunter Blevins, pictured in action against Knox Central, is a three-year starter on defense for the Black Bears.

Without a place to life weights during the pandemic shutdown in the spring, Harlan County linebacker Hunter Blevins knew he could be in trouble for his senior season if he didn’t have a plan.
“When we were put in the quarantine, I promised myself I wouldn’t just sit around,” said Blevins, who was able to reduce his weight from 260 to 225 going into his senior season. “Not lifting weights didn’t help me, but it did probably help with the weight loss. All I had was a medicine ball and a bench, so I did lot of core work with setups and planks. It was a lot of hard work, but I knew I needed it and was proud of what I accomplished. A lot of it was the diet. I really restricted what I ate. The biggest part of the battle was in the kitchen. My goal was to lose weight and keep the muscle I had. I wanted to get in better shape.”

Hunter Blevins

Even at his size a year ago, Blevins had no problem making big plays as he found a home at inside linebacker after playing on the outside as a sophomore. He led the 8-4 Bears last season with 81 tackles, including 14 for losses. He also returned an interception for a touchdown and took back a fumble 85 yards for a score to clinch a comeback win over Knox Central.
“Diesel really worked his butt off and never quit when he wasn’t getting the playing time he wanted early in his career,” said Harlan County coach Eddie Creech of Blevins. “We watched him grow up right before our eyes — mentally and physically. He made some big time football plays for us last season, and we expect him to be our emotional leader in 2020.”
The reduced weight also boosted Blevins’ chance to see more action on offense. He’s moved back to the fullback position he played in middle school on New Harlan’s state championship team.
“It’s been four years since I played fullback, but I still remember,” Blevins said. “I don’t mind if I get the ball. I just want to block and test myself against other middle linebackers.”
“We want to keep him fresh as possible to play in the middle on defense, but we want to utilize his power in our Bone set some this year, also,” said Creech.
Blevins knows everything at this point concerning football is still uncertain with the Kentucky High School Athletic Association scheduled to meet on Thursday to determine if the season will start on Sept. 11 as scheduled.
“This has been an absolute nightmare. I never thought something like this could happen,” Blevins said. “When I started Pee Wee football, I knew this is what I wanted to do. To have something like this happen, I couldn’t imagine anything worse. It’s all or nothing for the seniors.”
Blevins knows the Bears have a chance to have one of their best seasons with a senior-dominated squad ready to go, if football is approved.
“We can’t have any doubts in our mind. I want my senior year to be worth it,” Blevins said. “We have to keep each other up. It’s all about mindset and how much you want it. I hope we can do what we’ve done before. It comes down to how we keep our heads during this. When we can start playing together again, it will be special.”

Hunter Blevins ran through a play during a recent Harlan County practice session.