Don’t you just love it when local kids “do good” for themselves? I think we all do, and I’m not sure we don’t all pat ourselves on the back a little bit when we see successes come their way. After all, there is such a connect in small towns where we spend so many years watching our young people grow until we almost forget that they aren’t all ours, don’t we?
I suppose that’s why I take a very special pleasure in telling the world that while Comanche Indians Marshall Wirtz and Daniel Davila might be leaving Indian Stadium behind, they will only be moving about 30 miles down the road where they will once again don football uniforms…this time for the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets.
It was Marshall I talked to first because I knew that he had actually planned on attending Abilene Christian University.
“I was offered an academic scholarship from ACU, and I planned to try to be a walk-on in their football program. I mean, what’s the worst they could do…say “No,” he grinned.
“What happened was that I had also applied at Howard Payne because their head football coach came to CHS and told me that if I had any idea that I would like to play football there that I should apply. I did, and I received the Heart of Texas Scholarship based on my SAT scores, which earned me $56,000 of the $82,000 tuition that it will cost over four years.”
Of course, I asked Marshall about the rest of the cost.
“Their financial aid department will help me find grants and some departmental scholarships for the rest of the tuition.”
So what does he intend to do with his life besides playing football?
“I want to major in social work and minor in psychology because I plan to work at least for a while as a social worker either in hospice/home health or on the other end of the spectrum in CPS. At some point, I plan to go into the ministry, and all of this goes hand in hand. Even if I should decide to never go into social work, I will still need the training to work with the needs of a congregation.”
Of course, all of that is for the future. For now, Marshall Wirtz is just excited to have the chance to play a little more football, and he hopes to become the starting center for the Yellow Jackets at some point in his collegiate career!
“To me, playing college football is something that I have always wanted to do. I’ve always looked up to those who get to play and have always wanted to be able to say that I got to play Saturday ball.”
And for now, that’s enough.
My next interview was with Daniel Davila, a young man who has been impressing me with his athletic skill since he was in the fifth grade. Rickey and I have invested a lot of years in watching Daniel pull in the passes of quarterback Caisson Montieth, a duo that seems to have a certain chemistry on the football field.
However, as a Yellow Jacket, Daniel has opted to forego catching the pass…at least the ones intended for him.
“I attended Howard Payne’s receiver camp, and they did make an offer to me as a receiver, but what I really love is playing corner, and they saw my defensive film and also offered for that so cornerback is what I am hoping to play as a Yellow Jacket.”
Daniel’s first love is athletics, something he hopes to carry with him in his life off of the football field.
“I plan to major in sports management where ideally I could work in team management or as a players’ agent.”
With a minor in sports education, Daniel would also be qualified to coach so at the moment, all roads lead Daniel Davila right back into the middle of athletics and the life he enjoys best.
And after all, he is still a high school senior with all of the normal thoughts and concerns that come with that age.
“Of course, I’ve always wanted to play college ball, but I never really thought I was good enough. Then, it was in my sophomore year that I began to think that just maybe I could do this. Then, after my junior year I started getting invited to the camps, and that is when I really thought college ball might be a possibility, and I just kept working toward it.
“I’ve heard a lot about how good a school Howard Payne is and how successful they can help you become. It’s also in Brownwood, and I know I can find my way around there. Plus, the coach told us the program is on the rise and we can be the ones who can start a winning tradition there. I like the idea of that.”
So what does he expect to be the hardest adjustment to college life?
“Probably not being able to see my family everyday. That’s going to be tough, and I’ll be homesick even though I’m only thirty miles away.”
Before we finished, I asked for some words of wisdom to close with, and the following is what Daniel Davila wanted to leave behind for those who will come after him.
“If you have a dream, never give up. Keep working, keep striving, and you will get there.”
“‘They measured my height; they measured my weight, but they never measured my heart.'” -Tyrann Mathieu
And in the near furture, we will be bringing you the stories of two other soon to be Yellow Jackets, Caisson Montieth and Jaden Roberts. Do you think Brownwood is ready for this crew!??