Harleton’s Hunter Wallace is determined to make sure things are different this year. The previous three years have been rough on him and his Wildcats as he and his teammates have been bit but the injury bug early and often. The senior fullback and linebacker is hoping to change that, starting with week 1.
“I tore two ligaments in my ankle, sprang a knee and broke a finger. The first game I tore the two ligaments in my ankle. The sprang knee happened the same game and the last game I broke my finger. It’s been pretty rough.
“My last three years have been pretty rough and I want to leave them with hope that this year, we can turn it around, make our football program better than what’s it’s been the last couple years,” he continued. “I believe that we can with these new coaches and some of the old coaches who are actually turning this program around. There’s more hype on the field, more noise, more energy. It feels like a better atmosphere.”
After last season, it was announced that Terry Ward would not return as Harleton’s athletic director and head football coach. Kyle Little, who served as an assistant coach at Hallsville High School the last two seasons, replaced Ward at the position.
“He’s a throwback,” Little said of Wallace. “He’s just an old-school, tough-nosed kid. He’s strong. He’s fast. He works really hard. He’s just an overall great kid. He’s quiet. He doesn’t talk a lot but he just gets out there and goes to work every day. He never has a bad day. He shows up every day ready to work.
“If your best players aren’t your hardest workers, you’ve got a problem,” Little added. “When your best players are your hardest workers, you can kind of point to them for leadership. He’s one of the best dudes around here and he’s out here going full speed in110-degree weather. He’s taken every rep playing fullback, linebacker and all that.”
Wallace added he hopes to use his senior year wisely and leave an impact with his teammates while he can.
“You’ve got a lot of people who look up to you and you can’t just give up on the field if you’re getting beat,” he said. “You’ve just got to push through it and give it your best. That’s true in life too. If you get knocked down in life, lose a job or something, you can’t stop there.”
He’s hoping his football career doesn’t stop in high school either.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing college football,” Wallace offered. “It’s going to be hard since I am smaller, but it’s my dream and I have a couple schools I’m trying to look at and see if they’ll take me in.”
In the meantime, however, Wallace has high expectations for his teammates, his coaches and the Harleton community.
“The last three years, everyone comes and we have a big group but we haven’t been able to give them what they want,” Wallace said. “This year, we actually think we have what it takes to give them what they want, some excitement, some wins, some big hits, some big plays. Hopefully we can get them hyped up and provide a better vibe for them and give us a better vibe and the whole town a better vibe and it will just be a better atmosphere.”
The Wildcats are slated to open up the season Friday at 7:30 p.m. on the road against Queen City.