Catching success in his hands

Freshman football player achieves goal by playing for varsity team

Freshman+Armani+Winfield+lines+up+for+a+play+during+the+McKinney+Boyd+game+on+Thursday%2C+Sept.+13.
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Catching success in his hands

Freshman Armani Winfield lines up for a play during the McKinney Boyd game on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Freshman Armani Winfield lines up for a play during the McKinney Boyd game on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Freshman Armani Winfield lines up for a play during the McKinney Boyd game on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Freshman Armani Winfield lines up for a play during the McKinney Boyd game on Thursday, Sept. 13.

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The football team sets up on the line of scrimmage, ready to begin the game. His stance is fierce and determined. As soon as he hears the quarterback clap to signal the start of the play, he springs into action. His eyes dart on the quarterback, looking out to see the ball thrown toward him. His body stretches, catching the ball and blocking anyone who tries to restrain him from doing so. He sprints as fast as he can and doesn’t stop no matter what.   

Freshman Armani Winfield joined varsity football taking the position of a wide receiver. Even though he only began playing football roughly three years ago when he was in sixth grade, his improvements in the game became tremendous. Ever since then, he’s grown to love football and has made it into the top of the team.

“I never thought I would [be] on varsity,” Winfield said. “But as I got older, I felt like I could.”

Head football coach and athletic coordinator Michael Odle saw huge potential in Winfield at tryouts. As a young player, Winfield has shown to be capable of being on the team mentally and physically.

I have had freshmen play on varsity in my time as a coach,” Odle said. “It’s a transition that is difficult, but those kids that are mentally prepared for it can do it, although [it’s] very rare.”

Winfield continues to improve throughout the season. With excellent body control and strong hands, he has developed well into being a strong addition to the team.

“Armani is blessed with some explosive talent and has worked hard on his craft,” Odle said. “He is a confident young man.”

Offensive line senior Kwentin Huddleston is relieved a freshman is on a team. Winfield brings qualities to the team that were not brought before, making him a great asset.

“His [best quality is his] maturity level,” Huddleston said. “He shows great poise in everything he does and his work ethic definitely jumps out at you.”

Although Winfield is a freshman, he doesn’t let his age affect his relationship with the players. Because he knew everyone on the team would be older than him, he thought all the players would be more skilled than he is. His vision of what he thought the team would be like eventually differed.

“I just feel like another football player on the team,” Winfield said. “Just because I am a freshman doesn’t mean anything. If you are good at what you do, you are good at what you do.”

With Winfield’s skills, he received an offer in eighth grade from the University of Baylor. Their team, the Wildcats, are ready to welcome Winfield onto the team if he decides to attend.

“I love the Baylor weight room, indoor field and hangout area,” Winfield said. “Last time I went, they showed me around and I really liked the culture at Baylor. The coaches are really fun to be around too. [It’s] just a great big family over there.”

Even though being a freshman can feel rewarding, the advancement doesn’t stop there. He continues to push himself for success to be the best he can be. Winfield is expected to live up to certain expectations.

“There are big expectations for me,” Winfield said. “[Primarily] just working to the best of my ability.”

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