It’s not often a first-year player makes such an immediate impact on his new team, but September’s Student Athlete of the Month, Wyatt Anderson, has done just that.
When the George McDougall Mustangs incumbent starting running back Josh Seaman went down with an injury after his team’s second game of the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) season, the door was blown wide open for Anderson. The Grade 10 student quite literally took the ball and ran with it.
“(The coaches) just threw me out there to start and I’ve just been trying my best,” Anderson said. “I was both (nervous and excited) because the moment he got injured it threw all the pressure on to me.
“Being the starter, everyone is eyeing you and we’ve been running the ball a lot lately, so I’ve been getting a lot of experience in my Grade 10 year.”
Since taking over as starter, Anderson has been an absolute force running the ball, handling a majority of the Mustangs’ carries, gaining positive yards every time he touches the ball, scoring touchdowns and even supplementing the passing game of his squad.
Although the Crossfield resident said he has always had a love of the sport, he only recently got into playing it, starting just last season while he was in Grade 9.
He eluded to his parents not wanting him to play the sport, but he said when they finally let him have the opportunity, he loved it and has been playing ever since.
As a running back, especially one who gets as many carries as he has this season, stamina is extremely important and the young athlete said his background in soccer has played a big part in the transition to football.
Being new to the sport and not being from Airdrie, Anderson said he found it a little difficult fitting in with the Mustangs, but his time on the Airdrie Raiders in the spring definitely helped.
“I didn’t know a lot of guys at first, but I’ve made friends quickly,” Anderson said. “A lot of the guys (from the Raiders) play on the two other Airdrie teams, so I get to say, ‘hello,’ whenever I run past them.”
Like most young athletes, Anderson has aspirations of playing as long as he can and seeing how far his career will take him. However, he stressed the importance of doing well in school and taking the term “student athlete” seriously.
“Ever since I’ve started playing football, I’ve wanted to keep getting better,” Anderson said. “I never want to stop learning. I want to get to the highest level of football that I can.”
He’s added it’s been difficult balancing football and school during the RVSA season, but is happy he is learning how to do it now instead of in grades 11 or 12.
“My day is always busy. I’m always doing something, whether it’s football or school work, making sure I get all that done so I can keep my grades up,” Anderson said. “I want to keep my grades above 80 (per cent). I like the idea of being on the honour roll and making sure I’m doing well in school.”