Photo by Grace Allen
Story by J.D. McKay
FC has been terrific at sports all four years I have been in high school, and we have had many talented athletes. This year, if you read The Bagpiper, you will probably see some names carry over from past years, athletes like senior kicker Cole Hussung, junior quarterback Tristan Polk, senior cross country runner Sydney Liddle, and senior soccer player Katie Yankey. All four people I named are extremely talented and have earned the attention given to them.
However, there are other athletes who are also very talented. Athletes that often are not the highest point scorers, have the fastest times, or make the flashiest plays. These athletes can be very important players on the team, too. Their few points, several great tackles, or beautiful passes could push their team over the edge.
This week, my athlete is junior football player Caleb Slaughter. Slaughter is a middle linebacker who is in his second year of football in high school. However, he started playing football as early as he could. He did not play his freshman year because he wanted to focus on baseball. But, his year off rekindled his love for the game. You can tell in practice that he does love the game again.
As the “mike” backer, Slaughter understands his role. “The mike backer is typically the captain of the defense, so I view my role a little bit like that. But with both team captains being on that side of the ball, I let them lead and step up when I need to. I still take charge by calling the plays that coach Polk sends in to our DB’s,” said Slaughter.
He understands the role of a middle linebacker, though. One of his goals is to win a sectional, and he knows to do that, his tackling will need to be top notch.
“I want to miss under eight tackles this year,” said Slaughter. “The lower that number is, the more likely it is we win games.”
Slaughter also plays a little bit of offense. He has the opportunity to get his name in the paper on that side of the ball by scoring some touchdowns as a fullback or tight end, but that is not his main goals.
“My role on offense is to block and open holes so Wenkers (Wright) can score some touchdowns,” he said.
Slaughter also fits into the student-athlete phrase. Slaughter has the team’s highest GPA and is in the top 10 percent of his class. He said being an athlete has helped in achieving such high grades.
“The best advice I have ever been given related to sports was that everything I learn in sports will carry over to my day-to-day life now, and as an adult, said Slaughter.
Slaughter probably does not get much attention because, as he said, “I want to help make the rest of the team look as good as I can.” But do not let that fool you. Even if Slaughter is making others look good, he will be one of the most important pieces of a defense that gave up just seven points Friday at Providence.