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"WE ARE… MARSHALL!… WE ARE… MARSHALL!" RANG OUT FROM THE TV SET INSIDE THE CLASSROOM. SITTING IN ONE OF THE DESKS WAS TRUDELL BERRY.
The then-seventh grader watched the 2006 film at least five times during that year. It was his teachers' favorite movie to play on free days.
Five years later, Berry who plays both defensive back and receiver for the Lee Ganders ironically will be heading to Huntington, West Virginia next fall to be a part of the Thundering Herd.
A fitting movie-type script, right?
"Everybody in the town is behind Marshall football. Everybody," Berry, who verbally committed to the Thundering Herd this summer, said. "They are projected to be first in their conference this year. I'm excited to see what they bring. Them bringing heat to the field is going to make me feel more inspired to play and ready to play. I can't wait to see them play; it's going to fuel the fire for me watching them play."
The 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back is rated a three star prospect by 24/7 Sports. Along with Marshall, he had offers from Colorado State, Columbia, Pennsylvania and Utah State.
Going from the high school to college game, Berry believes he has a solid groundwork to build off of."
My speed. I think I'm a fast athlete," Berry said. "My feet, I've got good footwork and I'll be playing DB for Marshall, so technique in your footwork is critical at the next level. I feel like I have it, but I will continue to improve on it."
Berry will have this season to improve on his skill as he tries to get the Ganders back into the playoffs for a second-straight season with a "target on our back"-type feeling.
"First thing is we're going to take Battle of Baytown back home again and then we're going to go further in the playoffs," Berry said. "We were just getting our feet wet this past year. We arrived but now we're here to stay."
WHETHER IT BE BEATING OUT A CORNER ON A WHEEL ROUTE OR ANOTHER RUNNER IN THE 200-METER DASH, BAYTOWN LEE'S TRUDELL BERRY HAS THE SAME MENTALITY.
"You've got to have the mentality that you can't be beat," Berry said. "You've got to have a beast mentality. You have to believe in yourself so you can perform well."
On the football field, Berry is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound wide receiver and corner for the Ganders' football team that made the playoffs in the fall for the first time since 2009.
He was named first-team, all-district at outside receiver, and second-team all-district as a cornerback.
"One of his biggest assets is he is the most dependable teammate that you could have," Baytown Lee football coach Tim Finn said. "If we have a practice or workout, no matter what we're doing he's the guy that's going to be there 100-percent of the time.
"And you're going to get his best effort, no matter what sport or what day."
In the football season, Berry finished with just over 400 yards receiving and a pair of interceptions for the Ganders and now turns his attention to track season.
Looking back at last season, before everything halted due to COVID-19, Berry ran a personal-best of 22.03 in the 200-meter dash on March 5, 2020, and their 4x100-meter relay team was also picking up steam.
"I felt like we had a pretty good relay team last year, it was the fastest relay I've ever been on," Berry said. "But COVID happened.
"I have to make up for everything I missed last year. Everything I could have done, all the PRs I could have made. I have to do that this year."
The junior, who competes in the 4x100, 4x200, 4x400, 100, and 200-meter races has had a good start to the year.
The 4x400-meter relay team placed third at the Anahuac relays, where he also took second in the 200-meters – posting a season-best 22.10 time – and third in the 100-meter dash.
His favorite event though – the 200-meter dash.
"It's a long sprint," Berry said. "Coming out of the curve and down the straightaway you have to be mentally strong to keep on running. Keep your form all the way through and finish."
With the hopes of camps and 7-on-7 football happening this spring and summer, Berry is hoping to pick up some steam on the recruiting circuit.
And the dual-sport athlete knows the benefits from running track. His work now will pay off on the gridiron come the fall.
"It's everything, without track there's no success on the football field," Berry said.
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