Engle a four-year, three-sport standout at Fort Frye

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Tate Engle has been a starter on the Cadets’ football, basketball and baseball teams since his freshman year.

Tate Engle

Fort Frye

Year: senior

Age: 18

GPA: 3.1

Favorite subject: history

Sports: baseball, football, basketball

Football positions: quarterback/safety

Baseball position: shortstop

Basketball position: guard

College: undecided

Major: undecided

Family: Todd and Brenda Engle (father and mother); older brothers’ Tyler and Trey

Question: Let’s start with Sonny Bidwell. His passing was totally shocking. What kind of impact did he have on your career at Fort Frye?

Answer: It hit pretty hard. I know he was my gym teacher in elementary school before he became my head baseball coach (at Fort Frye). He impacted a lot of people’s lives, and really was a part of everybody. I know it definitely won’t be the same without him there in baseball next year. We’ll miss him a lot.

Q: You’ve probably been asked this question before, but what is your favorite sport?

A: (Laughs) It kind of teeters back and forth sometimes, but it’s football, especially this time of the year. I mean, it’s really an exciting time, and I always look forward to it.

Q: It’s not baseball?

A: (Laughs) Oh, I love baseball. In fact, I’m hoping and planning to play it at the college level.

Q: You haven’t decided where yet, have you?

A: Not yet. I still have a couple of visits to make.

Q: OK, back to football. When did you start playing football?

A: Back in the fourth grade, I played peewee football.

Q: Have you always been a quarterback?

A: I’ve never played any other position on offense.

Q: How about baseball and basketball, when did you start playing?

A: I think I was about 4 or 5-years-old when I began baseball. My brothers (Tyler and Trey) were a big influence. As for basketball, I was in the first or second grade and played at the YMCA in Marietta.

Q: Last Friday night, Fort Frye beat Belpre, 42-14, in a season opener. That had to have been pretty satisfying?

A: We had a good game plan and played really well. Belpre was our focus last Friday. Now, it’s Northridge. We’re taking it one game at a time, and not taking anybody lightly.

Q: With you taking center snaps since your freshman season, Fort Frye is now 30-1 in regular-season games (33-4 overall) with the only setback being to Northridge last year. I’ve got to believe the Cadets will be ready this Friday night?

A: We definitely have a point to prove. I really don’t think about being 30-1. I’m just happy to be involved. We have a tight group and we have a lot of fun.

Q: And, then, the following week, Fort hosts Waterford. Any thoughts on that game?

A: Waterford’s a really good team, and they’re well-coached. Eric McCutcheon’s done a great job. The game’s very important to both schools, and we’ve just been fortunate the last couple of years.

Q: I’ve got to believe Fort Frye has some pretty lofty goals this season?

A: Well, we want to get back to the playoffs, and we’re got to work hard to accomplish that.

Q: How about a couple of career football highlights?

A: In my freshman year, we played Caldwell here in a big PVC (Pioneer Valley Conference) game and won. But it was a real nail-biter. That same year, we went undefeated during the regular season and made the playoffs. That was pretty exciting.

Q: How ’bout baseball highlights?

A: We’ve won the OVAC (Ohio Valley Athletic Conference) the last couple of years. That was a big accomplishment, because it’s one of the biggest conferences in the country.

Q: Will you be eligible to play American Legion baseball for Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 next summer?

A: (Laughs) Yes, it’ll be my fifth season. My first summer was right before my freshman year at Fort Frye. Actually, with my dad (Todd Engle) being the coach, I’ve been around the program since my brothers played.

Q: Any American Legion highlights that you’d like to share?

A: When we played in the regional in Toledo two summers ago, that was a great experience.

Q: Who has inspired you during your sports career?

A: I would have to say my brothers (Tyler and Trey) in a lot of ways. They hit me ground balls and pitch to me in the batting cage. They pick me up when I’m down. They’re my best friends.

Q: What do you do off the athletic fields? Any hobbies, like golf?

A: (Laughs) I do golf but I’m not great at it. I like to fish and drive my jeep.

Q: Do you still follow Notre Dame football?

A: (Laughs) I’m a diehard Fighting Irish fan. And, I’m also a Cleveland Browns and Reds fan.

Q: The Browns might be better this year?

A: (Laughs) Well, they couldn’t have gotten any worse last year.

Q: How ’bout basketball?

A: I like Duke and Coach K.

Q: One last question. You’ve been a very durable athlete during your career. What do you attribute that to?

A: I don’t like to miss anything.

Ron Johnston, rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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