In retrospect, Alex Mauney would have started playing football earlier if he knew how fun it was.
“If I had known that playing football was this great, I would have started as a freshman, or earlier,” the HBCS senior said. “I didn’t know what to expect when I started but I wasn’t expecting to have this much fun playing.”
Those are words that Highland Baptist head football coach Rick Hutson loves to hear.
“I knew that he played baseball and was athletic so I asked him to come try out for football and he’s been a pleasant surprise for us,” Hutson said.
“To hear that he’s having fun playing is great news to me.”
Mauney, who found a spot playing receiver, defensive back and kick returner for the Bears, is in his first year playing football. Unfortunately, it’s also his last year in high school.
“We invited him to come out because our numbers were definitely low this year and I really thought that he’d be able to help us on a special team or two,” Hutson said. “But to come in and play a position as difficult as defensive back the different things you have to recognize and react to, he’s done a super, super job for us.”
So super that Mauney actually has two picks this year for the Bears, who head to Abbeville to take on District 8-A foe Vermilion Catholic tonight with first place in district on the line.
“He had some hiccups early which is obviously going to happen with a new player, but he’s gotten better each week and now he’s playing with confidence every week that he didn’t have at the beginning of the year and it’s been one of the bright spots we’ve had in the season,” Hutson said.
How Mauney came to football is also a pretty good story.
“It was the last week of summer and the coaches came up to me and one of my friends after we finished playing baseball and it was just like, ‘Well, why don’t you come out to play football now?’” he said.
“I wasn’t really sure about it and then a bunch of the seniors came talk to me and wanted me to come play and I was like, ‘You know what, I might as well just go play football.’”
The 5-foot-8, 155-pound senior found a home at cornerback for the Bears.
“I like all three things I do but my two favorite are defensive back and punt returner. I like the contact,” he said.
One thing the first-year player is proud of is that he hasn’t allowed a touchdown pass, although that is definitely going to be challenged tonight when the Bears play the Eagles.
“The highlight of the year for me has been playing football with people that I may never play football with again,” Mauney said. “Along with making friends and building character for myself.”
As for the rest of the season, the HBCS senior would like to finish the season with four straight wins and get the Bears into the playoffs.
“I would also like to score a touchdown on an interception return and a punt return,” he said.
“He’s just a special player,” Hutson said.