First and goal: Football team finds leadership in senior quarterback

Fall in Texas brings about slightly cooler weather, holidays, and football. Backyards are full of kids learning how to throw a spiral while their friends speed downfield, avoiding random pieces of playground equipment. Most high school athletes get their start joking around and hanging out with friends on the weekends without any structure or real coaching.

“I didn’t start playing football until seventh grade,” Mason said. “Being out there with my friends and having fun is what made me want to start playing.”

What started as a fun hobby to do with his friends turned into a much more substantial part of Mason’s life.

“Freshman year, Mason couldn’t even throw a football,” senior teammate, Hunter Batten said. “After that though, he just kept getting better and better and now he can throw about 70 yards accurately.”

As Mason continued his football career, not only did his talent grow, but his bond with his teammates did as well.

“Football is a team sport and everyone has to work together,” Hunter said. “All the moving parts have to work together to make the machine work.”

Although the team faces new challenges each week, Mason works to make sure his team comes together to overcome any obstacles and be successful.

“Having good team chemistry is the main part [of having a successful football team],” Mason said. “If you don’t have good team chemistry, you won’t play well together. Our biggest challenge is coming together as a team; we’re trying to work hard and gel more as a team to play better.”

Mason is seen as a humble leader on the team by not only relying on his own knowledge, but also taking the advice of others close to him to help the team rise to their full capabilities.

“My role model is my dad,” Mason said. “He has always taught me how to work hard and lead by example. He’s always taught me the work ethic I should have.”

Not only does Mason take advice from his dad, but he also draws on the advice he has received from former players who experienced similar challenges he is facing now as a team leader.

“BJ, our old quarterback, told me, ‘Be the best you can be and whenever you do that, that’s all you can do.’” Mason said.

Mason ensures that he holds tight to those words of wisdom. Even when he’s not on the field, he takes advantage of any moment he can to train to be his best.

“Last year Mason had to serve as the back up to a three year starter,” football coach Matthew Faldyn said. “He used that year to fine tune his skills and game.”

Faldyn has the privilege to see Mason as a student in addition to his life as an athlete, where, Faldyn sees that Mason’s work ethic on the field is mirrored in the classroom.

“I have Mason as a student in the classroom,” Faldyn said. “The guy sits in the front of the class and does nothing but turn in quality work and lead quality discussions. As an athlete, Mason is gifted with a physical frame and all the tools to play the quarterback position extremely well in high school football as well as at the collegiate level.”

Faldyn sees Mason as a natural leader who inspires others to find the best within themselves.

“Mason is a leader because he makes plays,” Faldyn said. “All players who make plays have the ability to be leaders because teammates naturally look up to those guys. Mason makes plays, works his tail off in practice, is extremely coachable, and devotes a lot of time to learning the game. He is a good leader.”