Today, Friday, Aug. 30, is a day many people have had marked on their calendars. It’s the most high school football teams play their first game under the lights.
For Marshall’s Jaeden Knox, the day he has on his calendar is just days before Christmas.
“I expect us to go a long way,” Knox said. “I expect us to play on Dec. 21 at 11 a.m.”
If it goes according to how Knox hopes, that’s when he and his Mavericks will play in the state championship at AT&T Stadium.
Knox played football his freshman year before taking off his sophomore and junior years to focus on basketball.
“I wanted to play with my class,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit out my last year. I wanted to play everything.”
The senior can be seen in the secondary, wearing his No. 22 jersey, chasing the ball and defenders.
“He’s fearless,” Marshall athletic director and head football coach Jake Griedl said.
“He’ll come down and hit. He’s very coachable. He is crazy athletic. I mean crazy athletic. He’s one of those kids you look at and just wonder, ‘Man, if he would have been playing for three years, what could he be?’ He’s a heck of a ball player right now and that’s just from the spring up until this point.”
The Mavericks will take the field tonight when they play host to the Tyler Lee Red Raiders.
“I expect them to play hard but I expect us to play harder,” Knox said, adding he gets motivated to win for the fans who come out to watch the Mavericks play on Friday nights.
“That’s a big part of it,” he said. “When the fans are active and alive, that makes us better on the field because we feed off their energy.”
Knox said the game of football has taught him the importance of character.
“I have to do stuff right even when people aren’t watching,” he said.
After high school, Knox plans to go to college to major in kinesiology and become a coach.
“I plan to go to college to play basketball and maybe football too,” he said.
“Always push your players to their fullest potential and make them defeat their weaknesses,” Knox said when asked about what lessons he’s learned from his high school coaches and what he hopes to apply as a coach himself one day.
Until then, Knox hopes to help lead his team to a successful season, one that doesn’t end until Dec. 21.
“We have to all come together as a team and play for each other,” he said.
Kickoff for tonight’s game between Marshall and Tyler Lee is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Maverick Stadium.