When Cedar Park High met Hutto for a pivotal district showdown at home on the night of Oct. 18, the weather was quintessentially autumnal by Texas standards. But Cedar Park’s “Black Rain” defense put a damper on the Hippos’ plans for another undefeated district season.
One of the key components of the hardy unit that neutralized a normally prolific Hutto High offense – and numerous other offenses, for that matter – is Timberwolves senior defensive end and Louisiana Tech commit Ben Bell. Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 250 pounds, Bell initially started as a nose guard but is seeing more time on the right side of the Black Rain’s 3-4 scheme, Cedar Park head coach Carl Abseck told Texas Scorcard.
The change has paid dividends as the three-year letterman easily makes himself at home in opposing backfields and leads the team in most defensive categories.
“He’s played a lot of end and will play a lot of end moving forward,” Abseck said. “He is the strongest player in our program. He’s really quick in his change of direction and he can run for a big defensive lineman.”
Abseck considers it a compliment to Bell when opponents attempt to double- or even triple-team him. Bell’s penchant for causing upheaval in the trenches is reflected in his current season line of 71 tackles, 18 tackles for loss (TFL) and six sacks.
“One thing about him is that he’s always going 100 miles per hour,” the coach said. “He’s got a tremendous motor, as we like to call it. He doesn’t take plays off. Between the mixture of his size, strength and speed, he’s a very difficult matchup for most offensive linemen because he can either manipulate you with his quickness or he’s going to be stronger, or a combination of both. Most teams have to try to occupy him with two blockers.”
In Cedar Park’s 20-16 victory over Hutto, Bell, who was voted captain by his teammates and was a co-recipient of the 2018 District 11-5A-I Defensive Lineman of the Year Award, amassed 10 solo tackles, two TFLs and a sack. It was a nice way to return after a suffering an injury a week prior in the Timberwolves’ 38-15 victory over Georgetown.
Playing defensive end, wearing No. 99, and exhibiting an uncanny defensive prowess with hilarious sack celebrations to boot, the future Bulldog and two-sport athlete is unsurprisingly likened to Houston Texans superstar J.J. Watt.
“He’s kind of that J.J. Watt for us,” Abseck said. “Certain numbers relate to greatness, and he certainly fits the bill for us.”
The coach hailed Bell’s verbal commitment to Louisiana Tech as a just reward for his talents and efforts.
“It’s just a great payoff for the work that he’s put in, so I’m excited for him,” Abseck said.