Sep 12, 2021
IN FOCUS: Dawson doubles up George Ranch
By Andy Tolbert
WHEN CORY HUFF JR. WAS GROWING UP, HIS TWO FAVORITE SCHOOLS WERE LSU AND BAYLOR. HE LIKED THE TIGERS BECAUSE OF THEIR WINNING WAYS, AND BAYLOR FOR THEIR SCHOOL COLORS –THE GREEN AND GOLD.
As Huff grew, so did his football prowess as he became a coveted prospect out of Nimitz High School. The three-star safety’s recruitment exploded in the offseason, racking up 16 offers from programs across the country.
But when the Baylor offer came in, it was different.
“It made me realize that I can really do something with this football thing,” Huff said. “I always knew I was good. I had a lot of talent. I never knew it could get me into Baylor University. When I saw the tears come down [my mom’s] face, I knew I hadn’t made it yet, but you feel like you have accomplished something.”
Huff’s mother Falama Fontenot, was brought to tears of joy by the offer from Baylor. Huff had visited Waco three times prior to getting offered by the Bears.
On January 9, Huff made it official with the Bears giving his verbal commitment. The selling point? The coaching staff. “In real life, he’s extremely quiet,” Huff said about Baylor head coach Dave Aranda. “But every time he talks, you can tell he knows what he’s talking about. He’s always respectful. He always gives out respects and gets respect out of me and everyone.”
Huff refers to Aranda as “calm, cool and collected”. He is a “person over player” type coach, which hits home with Huff.
It’s a culture thing on the banks of the Brazos.
“The culture he is selling is person over player,” Huff, who has worked a lot on eye discipline this offseason, said. “You’re a person before you’re a player. Football comes with a lot of stuff that comes outside of it. It can be simple as holding a door for a lady, the small things like that. You do small things right, you win.”
Welcome to our new feature - the Klein ISD Athletes of the Month - highlighting some of the best student-athletes in one of the most proud districts in the state of Texas. One girl and one boy will be selected each month representing the independent school district.
The recipients for the month of September are ...
Brad Spence, Klein Forest Football
Klein Forest’s Brad Spence is a problem for opposing offenses. The 6-foot-3 defensive end is a nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators and offensive tackles. Spence is long, strong and athletic with a burst of power. He has committed to the University of Arkansas but has unfinished business at Klein Forest. He hopes to lead the Golden Eagles to a playoff appearance on his way out before passing the baton to his brother Trent Spence, who plays the other end position. Brad recently had a 50-yard fumble return against Waller where they shutout the Bulldogs – 52-0.
Lydia Butler, Klein Oak Cross Country
Sophomore Lydia Butler is the next big thing for Klein Oak cross country. She has put together an amazing fall so far. She led off the year with a win at the Klein Oak Steeple Race in the 3000-meters in August. Butler then finished fourth in the highly-competitive Friday Night Lights in The Woodlands in the 4000 meters. The youngster then earned seventh at the Seven Lakes Spartan Invitational in the 5000 meters followed by a third-place finish at the College Park Invite. Most recently, Butler earned a fifth-place finish at the Hoka/McNeail Elite Invitational in the three-mile run. State is in her sights.
THE HEAD DRUM MAJOR IS THE QUARTERBACK OF THE MARCHING BAND. IT IS THE JOB OF A DRUM MAJOR TO LEAD THE BAND DURING THEIR PERFORMANCE CARRYING OUT DIRECTIONS OF THE BAND DIRECTOR.
So, consider Willis senior Tony Silverio the Tom Brady of the Wildkats’ marching band. Band is in Silverio’s blood. His sister was a drum major, and that got him hooked.
“She’d always tell me how the drum majors are the best at what they do,” said Silverio, who plays the trumpet. “As I started my band career, I knew it was something I loved doing. I went and pursued it and did all I could to be the best out there.”
As a leader, band members gravitate toward Silverio because of his positivity and personable nature. No Willis band member is more important than anyone else.
From the veteran seniors to the wide-eyed freshmen, everyone is on equal footing in Silverio’s eyes.
“I try to be the nicest person I can be to everyone,” he said. “I don’t like to judge people based on what they’ve done. I don’t like to listen (to what a person has done) until I’ve met that person and I can see who they really are. A lot of people have different stuff going on in their lives, so I always try to be nice and be a helping hand to everybody and gain their confidence that way.”
Silverio is headed to Sam Houston State next fall to continue his career in music. He plans to pursue a major in music education with a minor in performance. He also intends to perform with the marching band.
Ten years from now, Silverio said he sees himself as head band director at a high school while doing some performances as side gigs.
“Just doing what I love,” he said, “which is music.”
For now, however, he’s ready to enjoy his last year in the purple and white, leading the next generation of Willis band greats.
“Our culture consists of putting in effort,” Silverio said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re not as good as your neighbor when you’re marching out there. It’s a standard of as much effort as you can, all day and every day.
“We have this thing, ‘above or below the line,’ and we try and maintain ourselves above the line, which is high effort. Even if it’s only one percent improvement everyday, we’re just trying to get better.”
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