As I watched the North - South All-Star Classic on Friday, many seniors were ending their high school football careers. Of course for the North, their season ended with, not only being selected for the game, but also coming away with a win. For the South, being selected and playing in the game ended most of the high school football playing days. However. some seniors will play in the "Big 33" game later in June. My heart goes out to QB Maty Mauk from Kenton High School.
Maty dressed, but was not able to play because of a severe hamstring pull. He wanted to, but his father, Head Coach of the South, Mike Mauk, thought better. The game was close, but at the end both Mauks were on the sideline and the temptation was there, but no way. Great decision.
Last year, Maty finished third at the Ohio High School State Track Finals. He placed third overall, with a jump of 22'6. At his first track meet this spring, he long jumped just over 22 feet twice. While running the 100 meters, he tweaked his hamstring. After resting for over a week, he started running again. But instead of working back slowly, the track coaches had him doing full speed relay exchanges. He injured his hamstring more severely this time. No North - South All-Star Classic. Hopefully, the coaching staff realizes that he does not need to compete again until the middle of May and that he is not a relay guy.
A four year starter in basketball, his senior year was a series of "ups and downs." Because of very severe back injuries from football, Maty was not full go until December. The team struggled, as did he. The season was not what he had hoped.
Leading his Kenton team to the State Championship Final game was not an easy one. To get to the final game, Kenton beat powers- Genoa, Clinton Massie, and Bishop Hartley. Either running or throwing the ball on every down, Mauk took some "big-time" hits. Norwayne beat Kenton in the State Finals. Although Kenton scored 40 points, Mauk's back problems were just too much to overcome. His speed and agility were not there.
Living near Kenton, Ohio and being a friend of the family, I have watched Maty grow-up. We are talking from watching him crawl over the McDonald booths as an eight year old to watching him stand on the sidelines at the North-South All-Star Classic. He was a four year varsity starter in football, basketball, and track. Twelve letters.
Before he leaves in June to continue his football career at the University on Missouri, I hope that I see him standing on the podium at the Ohio High School State Championships, being awarded the medal for first place in the long jump.
I will admit that I was not always a Maty Mauk guy. I expected too much, too early, but I really appreciate what he has accomplished over the years. In some ways, it seems like yesterday that I watched him tag along with his dad at McDonalds. Hopefully, his senior year does not diminish what he has done in four years of high school.
Good news for opponents. No more Mauks at Kenton. Good news for me. Watching Maty grow-up into an excellent leader. Wow. No more Mauks in Kenton.