Northmont's Belton Makes Waves As Junior

Clayton (Ohio) Northmont junior quarterback Clay Belton has attended several Ohio State games during the early portion of the season. He has helped the Thunderbolts post a 5-1 record, throwing for over 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns. He figures to be one of Ohio's top prospects in the Class of 2007. Click here for more on this 6-6, 212-pound quarterback prospect.

Clayton (Ohio) Northmont junior quarterback Clay Belton has enjoyed a strong first season as the starter.

The 6-6, 212-pound Belton has helped lead the Thunderbolts to a 5-1 start and positioned Northmont for a possible Division I playoff berth after it was snubbed with a 9-1 record a year ago.

So far this year, Belton has completed 96 of 168 passes (57.1 percent) for 1,423 yards and 16 touchdowns against seven interceptions. He has also rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

Belton was the backup at Northmont last year behind standout Tyler Horner.

"I started on the JV team and I just watched him and learned from him," Belton said. "I learned a lot from him.

"This year, I've been able to come in and just do my job. That's my main role. The wins and the yards and everything else are an added bonus. I just try to not make too many mistakes. Without those turnovers, the yards and the touchdowns just come with it."

Belton has 4.9-second 40-yard speed, although he reportedly has the second fastest shuttle time on his team.

"I like to stay in the pocket," Belton said. "If I have to go, I'll move. I'll run it if I have to. It's almost like school to me. I think I'm good at reading defenses and my coaches have taught me a lot. It helps that I am at a passing school."

Belton has done much of his damage with receiver Justin Watkins, who has 36 catches for 639 yards (17.8 average) and seven touchdowns.

Belton came out of the gate strong with 372 yards and four touchdowns in his team's opening week win over Dayton Chaminade-Julienne. One of the season's key wins then came in week two, when Northmont downed Cincinnati LaSalle 42-7 with Belton throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns. LaSalle has since gotten quarterback Tyler Sheehan back from injury and posted a 5-1 mark, including a win over Cincinnati Moeller. LaSalle's strong showing could help power Northmont into the playoffs.

But the Thunderbolts have several challenges in front of them. They host Miamisburg Friday, then visit Piqua Oct. 14, host Huber Heights Wayne in a key game Oct. 21 and finish at Troy Oct. 28.

"If we're able to win out, we should make it into the playoffs," Belton said. "We know we have some tough games in front of us. That is something we are really excited about since we didn't make it last year."

Belton has been a varsity basketball player since his freshman year. But he sees football as the key to his future.

"I have accepted and known that football would be my sport," Belton said. "My goal is wherever I can go to play football that I can maybe walk on and play basketball. I've played basketball most of my life and I really enjoy it."

Belton is hearing from a wide variety of colleges, including Ohio State, USC, Texas, Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame. He attended camps at OSU and Pittsburgh this past summer. He has also joined his teammate, Ohio State commitment Kurt Coleman, in attending several of OSU's early season games, including the Sept. 10 night game with Texas.

"That's something I can't put into words," Belton said. "I had never been to a football game like that, period. For the first one to go to to be the Ohio State-Texas game, that was unbelievable. I got to see the players and what kind of a different level they play on. After seeing that, that just pushes me to work seven times harder so I can reach my goal of playing in a stadium like that someday.

"I don't have any offers yet. I imagine if I keep working hard and do what I can do, colleges will come. I don't have a favorite."

Belton, who has a 3.75 GPA and scored a 20 on the ACT as a sophomore, is well acquainted with OSU's assistant coaches.

"I have definitely talked with (quarterbacks coach Joe) Daniels," Belton said. "I have talked to he and Coach Tressel. I have also seen them when they've come down here to see Kurt Coleman. They tell me to just keep working hard."

Coleman has been another big reason for Northmont's success. He has been a standout at wide receiver, cornerback and in the return game. Coleman has 13 catches for 143 yards and a touchdown. He also has two punt return touchdowns and one 93-yard kickoff return for a score. Defensively, Coleman has 58 tackles, six pass break-ups and two interceptions.

"You look at the fact that Kurt is such a great player and he's going to Ohio State," Belton said. "But he also takes that role as being a leader on our team. He leads by example. He makes everyone else's job easier. He makes plays on defense and he makes plays on special teams. I know he makes my job easier. He is a great receiver.

"He is one of the fastest kids in our high school. He steps up as a leader. When he plays on defense, he gives 110 percent."


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