Dancing bear signs to play at Mars Hill
Regis Bittle, Polks defensive anchor, will be playing defensive tackle for the Lions next season.
Bittle wasnt your average defensive tackle for the Wolverines. In fact, he was a rarity for Polk head coach Bruce Ollis.
He was a dominant defensive presence for us on the field, Ollis said. Hes the first defensive lineman Ive coached that led the team in tackles.
Bittle was known for blasting through holes in the offensive line, using his speed and agility to wreak havoc in the offensive backfield for opponents.
Bittle has been the defensive line anchor for a Wolverine defense that has been pretty stingy the last four years.
A lot of that domination on the field comes from Bittles strength, Ollis said.
Bittle power cleans 325 pounds and he deadlifts 655 pounds.
Hes the strongest overall athlete Ive coached as far as weight goes, Ollis said.
Last year, Bittle was the Western Highlands Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He also ran back the first touchdown of his career after scooping up a fumbled caused by Polk defensive end Ryan Owens.
So what made Bittle so dominating for the Wolverines?
It was a combination of things, Ollis said. He runs well, hes aggressive, he has great hips and he has a low center of gravity, Ollis said.
Bittles football skills were helped by the other sports he competed in.
He qualified for the state championship finals meet the last two years in wrestling.
Hes also won two state championships in track and field for the Wolverines.
Bittle was also courted by Virginia Union and Catawba, but the location was one of the keys for Mars Hill reeling him in.
He also get to butt heads with a familiart tailback named Garrison McDowell. McDowell played for Landrum and was a freshman for the Lions last season. Bittle will get the chance to tackle him again in practice.
Im glad hes going to be pretty close, Bittles mom Rebecca said. I thought he was going to be hours away.
But that lure of being close to home made Bittles choice a little easier.
Now its just getting out on the field and showing the coaching staff what he can do, he said.
Im very excited, he said. Ill be glad to make an impression.
And he has a lot to take with him to Mars Hill from Polk, he said.
Im taking a lot of good technique, a lot of good coaching, family and a winning tradition, he said.