Hamtramck — Kameron Bell is doing all he can to help Hamtramck make history in his senior year as a strong two-way player.
Bell, a 5-foot-10, 165-pound receiver/cornerback, worked hard during the off season to prepare for his senior season, putting on 10 pounds with countless hours in the weight room while also studying film.
All of Bell’s work has paid off, coming up with 39 receptions for 684 yards and 12 TDs to help Hamtramck to a 4-2 start, closing in on its first state playoff appearance in school history.
Oh, and Bell has four interceptions while having several more pass break-ups on the defensive side of the ball.
“Things have been going well for the team,” said Bell before practice Monday evening. “We all worked really hard during the off season. We have three games left and we’re looking to win all three. We’re trying to make school history and we need to win two more games to earn Hamtramck’s first state playoff appearance.
“I’ve gotten real serious about football, worked hard in the weight room, watched a lot of film. We played a lot of good schools in 7-on-7 tournaments during the summer and did good, matched up well. We played West Bloomfield, went over to Cass Tech, then played Belleville at (Detroit) Northwestern. We gained confidence and that carried over to the season.”
Bell also attended a few camps this summer, including Grand Valley State and Eastern Michigan. He’s grown up playing with quarterback Lawrence Napier.
“We’ve known each other since elementary school, grew up together at Hamtramck Public Schools,” Bell said. “He can read the field. He can sit in the pocket and if he doesn’t see nothing he can run.
“I feel our connection is so good because I tell him what I saw and he tells me what he sees out there. I would say my awareness is my strength, just feel I can really spot things out, that and how I run routes and use my speed to get open.”
Hamtramck fourth-year coach Donny Scott is impressed with Bell.
“He put on 10 pounds since last winter and got his 40 time down to 4.6 from 4.8 during his freshman year, so he’s a hard worker, just loves the game and he’s only going to get better,” said Scott. He’s a great receiver. His strength is how he catches the ball, looks the ball in and never drops passes. He has hands like glue and he’s a great, great pass router. We have a phrase that we use and that’s ‘If we’re even we’re leaving,’ because once he gets next to a DB he’s out of there. He’s (defensive back) not going to catch him.
“Still, I think that as great of a receiver as he is, I think he’s an even better defensive back than wide receiver. He’s lock-down. He has 14 interceptions over the last three years, four this season.”
Scott is surprised Bell has yet to receive a Division 1 or Division II offer.
“I’m real surprised, especially how he played in camps, just lit up Belleville and Cass Tech cornerbacks this summer,” said Scott. “We had 24 7-on-7s this summer and he was the best player on the field in all of them.”
Scott feels Bell and Napier have developed a strong chemistry.
“Lawrence Napier is a senior dual-threat quarterback and they’ve been together since I’ve been here, but they’ve been my quarterback and receiver the last two years,” pointed out Scott. “The relationship between them is good. He knows how he wants his route ran, and when he’s (Napier) scrambling he (Bell) knows to come back to the ball. It’s a good chemistry between them and that’s a reason we’re two wins away from making history.”
Napier has thrown for 947 yards and 16 TDs, rushing for 326 yards and 3 TDs.
Hamtramck needs two wins in its last three games to lock up its first state playoff appearance.
“We’ve never made the playoffs before and so the whole city has rallied behind us,” Scott said. “The superintendent, the principal, the athletic director, and we have the alumni coming out to watch us play.
“It’s electrified this city. We were one game away (from making playoffs) last year and lost to Dearborn Crestwood, so we’re just hoping to finish it off.
“It would mean the world to these kid to make the playoffs. They practice hard. We don’t have a lot of players, just 22 of them. We have a nice coaching staff. We’re just trying to make history for the program.”
The school has an enrollment of 1,135. If it makes the state playoffs, it would more than likely compete in Division 3.
Scott took over an 0-9 program prior to the 2014 season, helping guide Hamtramck to a 4-5 record, including a 58-38 win over Harper Woods in the Battle of the Maroon Helmet, ending a 15-game skid in the rivalry. Hamtramck followed with another 4-5 record in ’15, followed by a winning season (5-4) last year.
Hamtramck will play host to Detroit Community (3-3) Friday, then Harper Creek (2-4) before closing the season with Crestwood.
“We’re not a big team number-wise, but we’re fast,” noted Scott. “We have a big school, actually Class A, but we don’t have a lot of kids who actually play sports. We’re still trying to build, hoping that this season takes us over the top so we can get more to come out. I’m a track coach and I have my players run track too. We like to spread you out. We get you in no-huddle. We run a lot of rotations, so we try to catch you off guard.”
Masai Ray, a four-year starting running back, and 6-4, 230-pound Joshua Coffey are other impact players. Coffey, who plans to visit Central Michigan this month, has seven sacks from his defensive end spot and 22 receptions and three TDs as a tight end.