Hard work. Every football coach asks for it but few come across a player who delivers on that request quite like Cypress Lake quarterback Chad Hire.According to Panthers coach Mark Ivey, Hire has made it to every practice, weightlifting session, team meeting and summer workout Ivey has held since he took over the program in the spring of 2002.”That’s exactly the kind of kid you want leading your team,” Ivey said. “I’ve had kids that were good kids and hard workers, but I’ve never had anyone like him. All of our kids can look to him and know they can count on him to do his best at all times.”
There’s a simple reason behind Hire’s dedication.”I don’t ever want to feel like I’ve let my team down or myself down,” he said.
Which is why Hire welcomed a chance to play tight end for Cypress Lake last season, despite starting at quarterback for the Panthers’ freshman and junior varsity teams the previous two years.”He never said a word,” Ivey said. “He just went out there and blocked people and caught some passes.”Hire said he thinks his season spent catching footballs rather than throwing them will help make him a better passer this year.
“I got a chance to see the field differently,” he said. “It’s going to help to know what routes are good and what ones aren’t.”Playing for the Panthers in a 7-on-7 league this summer also helped the 6-foot, 200-pound Hire develop some much-needed chemistry with his receivers.
“I’ve gotten a lot better at reading defenses and knowing where to put the ball,” he said. “I’m just glad to get the opportunity to play (quarterback) again.””He’s worked real hard on his mobility and on his strength,” Ivey said. “He doesn’t have the strongest arm and he’s not the fastest guy back there. But I can guarantee he will run the offense well and work until he gets things right.”As for any individual goals, it’s no surprise that Hire said he has none.
“The only thing I want is for us to have a winning season and hopefully make the playoffs,” he said.
Signal-caller will lead Panthers this season
News-Press File Photo* Third-year Cypress Lake coach Mark Ivey will have 25 seniors on the varsity squad this year.