Tesean Hamilton

When asked what kind of life lessons football has taught him, Tesean Hamilton said, “It’s not always about you. Sometimes you’ve got to put yourself on the line for the bigger picture.”

It’s all about the bigger for Hamilton, a picture that he hopes involves a state championship.

“We’re taking one game at a time, just working day in and day out. Hopefully we go to state,” he said. “That’s what we’re working toward.”

He admits however, that taking one game at a time is easier said than done when you have that big picture in mind.

“It’s real hard to do sometimes but our coaches settle us down and talk to us and get our minds straight and we focus on what we’ve got to do for this game,” he said. “The key to getting a win here is our chemistry, playing together.”

Most likely, it’s that bigger picture that has made it easier for Hamilton to play on both sides of the ball.

“He started every game last year as a freshman, so a year of growth and a year of stability back at the fullback position for us,” Waskom athletic director and head football coach Whitney Keeling said. “I think he’s done a tremendous job. I had to play him on defense this year where we hadn’t to last year. So he’s playing a little bit of both ways and now with Cole (Watson) being out, Cole played some linebacker as well, so that means he’s pretty much bound to play a lot more than what he has. He’s a tough kid, very smart, does everything you ask him to do as far as to get better. That’s not any easy position to play. No. 1, you’re getting hit just about every play on offense and then turn around and play defense. It’s just as much a mental grind as it is physically.”

“Great,” Hamilton said when asked how it’s going playing defense. “I love playing football, period. I can play anywhere on the field. I love doing it.”

On defense, Hamilton has recorded 11 tackles, five of which were made behind the line of scrimmage and he has forced a fumble. Offensively, he leads the team in rushing with 104 carries for 841 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Another part of the bigger picture is how his senior teammates finish and if Hamilton has anything to say about it, they’re going to go out on a high note.

“Oh real bad because I don’t want them to leave with a bad season,” he said when asked how bad he wants to succeed for the Waskom seniors. “I’m trying to make this season the best I can for them. I know for a lot of them, it’s going to be their last time playing football and I know that’s a bad feeling.”

In order for the Wildcats’ season to continue, they must come away with a win over the New Waverly Bulldogs.

“New Waverly is a pretty good football team,” Keeling said. “They do a lot of good stuff on the offensive side and we’re going to have to defend all that and hope that our kids force them to make some mistakes and get some early stops. I think if we control the ball, don’t turn it over and don’t put ourselves in some bad situations, I think we’ll be fine.”

The Wildcats, who finished the season with an overall record of 7-1 and an 11-3A Division II record of 5-1 enter tonight’s game with a No. 1 seed against a No. 4 seed Bulldogs team that owns a 6-3 overall record and a 12-3A Division III record of 4-2.

“Their quarterback (Sebastine Amaro) is really talented. He’s their most talented player,” Keeling added. “He throws a good ball. No. 10 (Wyatt Sherwin) and No. 19 (Ty Elder) are their two main receivers they throw the ball to. I just think we’ve got to play good disciplined football. When you’re playing teams you haven’t seen before, they can do stuff to you that you’re not used to, so you’ve got to be pretty balanced and hope that your kids make more plays than theirs.”

Another big picture for Hamilton is something he learned from his coaching staff.

“Just to have fun, really,” he said. “They talk with us and joke with us but when it’s time to get down to business, we get down to business and do what we’ve got to do. We’ve got a really good coaching staff.”

“He’s a great kid, super intelligent, makes great grades,” Keeling added of Hamilton. “He’s never in trouble. You don’t ever have to worry about him being here. He’s always going to do what you ask him to do. He’s a kid you enjoy coaching for sure.”

Tonight’s bi-district playoff matchup is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Panther Stadium in Palestine.