Sam Payne (right) during River Valley’s game at Eastern.

River Valley’s Quiet Leader: Sam Payne

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Every team needs one of those “do-it-all” kind of players.

River Valley has one of those players in Sam Payne. The senior linebacker, fullback and running back applies max effort to whichever role he assigned, whether it be scoring, containing opposing rushers, or sacking quarterbacks.

“He’s a quiet leader,” River Valley head coach Jerrod Sparling said. “Always does what he is told and is one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached”.

It is that willingness to step into any role which makes Payne a go-to guy.

“He’s like a rock, keeps the team grounded. When he speaks others listen,” Sparling added. “He is always in the film room and is just so dependable, a great example to follow”.

Payne was quick to make an impression on his new coaching staff after transferring from Gallia Academy last year, though already having friends at River Valley made the transition easier.

“The coaching here is a lot better and the classrooms are a big improvement,” Payne noted.

When the pads and helmet are off, Payne enjoys some of life’s simple pleasures such as spending time with friends, throwing some chicken on the grill, and watching scary movies – Scream is his favorite. One can also find Payne in the school’s weight room fairly often or assisting disabled community members as part of the Beta Club.

After River Valley, Payne, an honor roll student, envisions himself heading off to either the University of Cincinnati or Marshall University to become a nurse practitioner.

Wherever his personal path leads, Payne insisted he wants to make the most of everything.

“(I want to be) Be the best that I can be, if that on the field of in the classroom, just with whatever I do, I want to be the very best that I can be”.