The sound is unmistakable.
If you’ve been to any Aliquippa football games this year, there’s a good chance you’ve heard it. You don’t even need to be paying attention to the game or watching what’s happening on the field at the time. As long as you’re anywhere in the vicinity, you can easily hear the thunderous “pop” — followed by an audible “oooh” from the crowd.
That’s the sound of Quips linebacker Cameron Lindsey making another bone-jarring tackle.
Rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound junior is one of the top all-around players in the area. He earned all-state honors as a sophomore when he helped lead Aliquippa to a WPIAL and PIAA Class 4A title, and he already holds scholarship offers from Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Maryland and Syracuse. Lindsey is a ferocious competitor, a certified game-wrecker and above all else, a winner.
Considering his contributions in all three facets of the game, nobody has had more of an impact on the Quips’ current 24-game win streak going into their PIAA semifinal vs. Allentown Central Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday at Bald Eagle Area High School. But despite his status as one of the most coveted recruits in the area, Lindsey sometimes gets overlooked and lost in the shuffle among all the big names on Aliquippa’s star-studded roster.
“Cam does it on offense, defense and more importantly, on special teams,” said Quips coach Mike Warfield. “Here’s a four-star player, just came back from Notre Dame on a visit, and he wants to play on special teams in high school. Who does that?”
Offensive numbers — or lack thereof — probably have a lot to do with it. More often than not, blue-chip linebackers like Lindsey also double as their team’s starting tailback on offense. And make no mistake about it — Lindsey can run the ball. He actually leads the team in yards per carry (9.7 ypc) with 175 yards and three TDs on 18 carries. But Aliquippa already has a tandem of talented backs atop the totem pole in sophomore Tiqwai Hayes and junior John Tracy. That allows Lindsey to devote most of his focus and energy to the defensive side of the ball, where he anchors a fearsome unit that allows only 9.2 points per game — third best in the WPIAL.
“He’s just a total team player,” Warfield said. “Anywhere else, he might be the starting tailback. He’s unselfish.”
As a sophomore, Lindsey tallied 52 total tackles with five tackles for loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. He returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns, none bigger than a 28-yard pick-six in the Quips’ 34-27 PIAA Class 4A championship win against Bishop McDevitt.
So far this year, Lindsey’s numbers are virtually identical. He ranks second on the team with 50 total tackles, including five tackles for loss, to go with one sack, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. All he’s waiting on is another chance to take an interception to the house.
“I’ve never been an individual guy. I’ve always been about the team,” Lindsey said. “If we come out confident, we’re a tough team to beat.”
As impressive as they are, Lindsey’s numbers hardly tell the full story of what he brings to the table. His teammates feed off his leadership in the heat of battle during the biggest games, and his knack for big plays and game-changing hits is undeniable.
Lindsey’s taller, longer frame and exceptional speed for a linebacker makes him a prototypical fit for the modern era of football. Nowadays, linebackers like Lindsey who can cover running backs and tight ends in the passing game while also shutting down the run are more valuable than ever.
“I’ve just got to play both sides of the ball and do whatever I can to help my team win,” Lindsey said. “I just want everybody to be great on my team.”
His laid-back, soft-spoken demeanor off the field is a stark contrast to Lindsey’s intimidating on-field persona. He will probably never be the one to seek out more attention on his own, so maybe it’s time for a new nickname to help him stand out. Perhaps a nod to former Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, once widely considered the hardest-hitting safety in the NFL and affectionately known as “Kam Bam.”
With the reputation he’s building, it’s safe to say no high school running backs will be eager to run into “Cam Bam” Lindsey anytime soon.
“I’ll go to war about [my team],” Lindsey said. “We just have a swagger that I feel like no team can stop us.”