By Tim Chambers
Some players like to stand out on the football field and others like to blend in. Will Kerley is a little of both.
The senior outside linebacker is no giant when it comes to size on the gridiron. His 5’7, 165 pound frame is rather small for his position but he makes up for it with heart.
He’ll be one of the leaders on the Longhorns’ defense who rely on their quickness to compensate for their lack of size. And he’s thankful every time he walks out onto the field.
Kerley missed his sophomore season with an injury that nearly ended his football career. He said that watching from the sidelines was tough at times.
“I was pretty miserable not getting to play,” said Kerley. “I tried to pray a lot and stay faithful to the Lord. I feel blessed being back out there playing again because I enjoy every moment of it. I never take things for granted anymore. I wouldn’t be out here playing now if it wasn’t for the Lord’s healing me.”
Kerley is hoping that he and his teammates can help heal some wounds caused by not making the playoffs last year. He believes that this squad can do that.
“My first goal is to try and win the conference,” said Kerley. “I would love to go undefeated but that’s not my number one goal. I want us to play together and give it our best every time out. I’m more concerned about that than anything. Those things will come if we don’t slack and stay focused on doing what we do best.”
Kerley knows how to stay focused and multi-task. He plays in the band “Broken Road” when not on the football field.
“I’m not sure how the two mix but it does for me,” laughed Kerley. “I love both of them because they teach me lessons about life. It’s a joy when I sing and play music about my Lord. He’s the reason that I am who I am today.”
Kerley began playing music in the sixth grade and he only played one year of youth league football. You could say he’s a late bloomer.
“I’m lucky getting to do both but there is much more,” added Kerley. “I love playing for my dad (Tom) and my uncle Don. I am so thankful to have both of them in my life. My dad has taught me so much about things other than football. Both he and Uncle Don have been role models in my life.”
Kerley’s band, “Broken Road” has been a big hit among the young and old in Johnson County just like he’s been on the football field.
“I love to hit because I strictly play defense. It’s something I take a lot of pride in.”
Kerley knows that pride would spread throughout Johnson County should they win the conference. It hasn’t been done since 1988.
“I know it would be a big accomplishment for everyone here if we could run the table,” said Kerley. “Winning the conference would be big for our school and community. It would be something to remember us by.”
And how does Kerley want to be remembered?
“I want people to recognize me as somebody who gave it their all. I just want to blend in and have fun. I feel special to be a part of it. I’m coming along just for the ride.”