Mason Sayre is not to be touched during football practice at Will C. Wood High School. The senior quarterback wears a red vest over his jersey to remind his teammates that he is off limits. And if the vest is not enough of a deterrent, the black cast on his left forearm will surely do the trick.
All of that does not prevent Sayre from initiating contact. He did just that last Friday on one play during an intrasquad scrimmage. Sayre was flushed from the pocket, scrambled to his right and decided to make a run for it. With a defensive back pinning him to the sideline, Sayre could have easily stayed out of harm’s way by simply stepping out of bounds.
Sayre instead lowered his shoulder and delivered as much of a hit on that defensive back as his 6-foot, 160-pound body could generate. It would be safe to say Sayre will not earn his keep this season by trying to plow for three yards and a cloud of synthetic turf. He will be better off trying to steer clear of defensive players instead of testing his luck against them.
If Sayre gets the itch, however, there is a good chance he will scratch it. “Getting hit is not my favorite thing, but it is fun to hit someone,” he said. “They don’t allow quarterbacks to hit, but let me get in on some of the fun.”
Fun became a habit for Sayre last spring with Wood’s baseball team. The shortstop led the Wildcats in batting average (.392), hits (31) and runs scored (18). Sayre also plays for the Admirals Baseball Club. The cast is a souvenir from an Admirals game during which he tagged a runner at second base and his left thumb became acquainted with the runner’s helmet.
The cast will come off Friday, just in time for Wood’s scrimmage at El Camino on Saturday. The Wildcats will kick off the season Aug. 19 at home against Pioneer of Woodland. Wood has just four home games this season. The other three are Sept. 9 against Liberty of Brentwood, Oct. 7 against Armijo and Oct. 15 against defending state Division 3A champion Vanden.
Baseball may be Sayre’s future, but football is the present. More and more high school athletes are being sold on the idea that putting all their eggs in one sport is the golden ticket to college. Sayre does not buy that. Walking away from football never entered his mind, much less crossed it.
“I love playing football with my friends. That’s what keeps me going,” Sayre said. “It’s fun to represent my school and play under the Friday night lights.”
His first opportunity to take the stage as Wood’s starting quarterback will come Aug. 19 at Wildcat Stadium. He will be just fine without the red vest and black cast.