Hayden Payne Shines in Varsity Debut for St. Pius X
Facing a Class 6A program didn't scare him. Going head-to-head with a trio of big, bruising, senior running backs didn't phase him.
"That running back was probably 220 pounds and he was moving and he took him head on," St. Pius X coach Billy Noonan said. "That takes guts. That's brave."
In his first-ever varsity game, St. Pius X junior Hayden Payne didn't act like he had limited experience. Which was a good thing for the Panthers, who are having to replace a ton of talent on both sides of the ball in 2019.
"Hayden Payne was throwing his body around and didn't care who was running the ball, who caught the ball, he was going to stick his facemask in there and be a part of it," St. Pius X coach Billy Noonan said. "Just that whole lack of fear, you can't teach that. For a freshman, who is undersized right now, just goes in there and puts his body in there for the guy next to him because he cares."
Payne finished his first varsity game with an interception, a tackle for loss and multiple other tackles as the freshman just flew to the football.
"It was great, being able to come out here and get an interception, a turnover, felt amazing," Payne said. "It was really fun to be able to come out here and get a whole bunch of tackles, contribute to the team."
Of course, Payne has a lot of growing to do.
Physically, of course, considering he is still a little undersized but also through his football game as well as more experience is added to his resume as the year goes on.
"It's going to help me get better," Payne said. "Missed a couple of tackles but I learned from them, got back in there and played my hardest. Being able to go out there every day in practice, learn the defense and get better is amazing."