By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
All his life, Stillwater High School senior Spencer Parsons was told he was too small to play football. Or at least have any sort of impact.
Perhaps that’s why Parsons stays after practice on a regular basis to run extra sprints or get a few more reps in.
“I’ve never been the biggest guy,” Parsons said. “You walk in kind of with a chip on your shoulder thinking, ‘Nobody expects me to make a big play because I’m not that big.’ You just have to go out and prove everybody wrong.
“Everyday at practice, I have to do something to try and impress one of my coaches. I just want to make everybody kind of look around and impress people.”
Parsons may not be the biggest guy on the field, but if there’s one thing about him it’s that he has a heart that’s bigger than most — something the Pioneers (1-6, 1-3 in district) will need as they travel to Sand Springs for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday against the Sandites (3-4, 2-2 in district).
One minute he’ll be giving the Pioneers an emotional speech. The next, he’ll be on the field playing as many as three different positions.
“We’ve watched him grow and develop as a football player over the last couple of years,” Stillwater coach Tucker Barnard said. “That’s always fun to watch, just to see these guys grow up and watch their attitudes change, watch them mature and watch them become better men, better football players and better leaders. Spencer is no exception to that. We’ve really enjoyed coaching him.”
Parsons wasn’t always so gung-ho about everything. Even earlier this year, Parsons resisted when Barnard asked him to move from defensive back to linebacker.
His reasoning? Even he thought was too small.
“That totally caught me off guard,” Parsons said. “I didn’t think that was going to happen at all, and I kind of really didn’t like it at first.”
While Parsons took his lumps early as linebacker, he continued to work through the mistakes, knowing all along it was for the benefit of the team.
“He’s just that kind of player,” Barnard said. “He is truly a utility player. There’s so many places that we can put him and he could be successful at a lot of different positions. But what he’s doing right now is he’s been able to fill in any place that we have a need and he’s doing it nicely.
“I’m sure he was nervous about that switch. It’s something that he hadn’t really done before. He still has moments of confusion, but you get better and better with experience and that’s what we’ve seen.”
In turn, that experience has led to more confidence on and off the field. It’s fueled his passion for football and helped him do his best to keep the team together as it goes through recent struggles.
“Being a senior is a big part of what I do,” Parsons said. “It’s my last year. It’s just the whole passion factor of trying to go out and leave something behind.”
Whether its his Wes Welker-like approach as a receiver — going across the middle and taking punishing hits from linebackers — or flip-flopping between defensive back and linebacker at a moment’s notice, Parsons has definitely left a some things behind — his heart and a legacy.
“You’d love to have a hundred other kids just like him,” Barnard said. “I know going in to each Friday night that he’s going to give it everything he’s got and more. He goes out there like there’s nothing to lose and that’s why we’re trying to win as many games as possible for these seniors like Spencer and King (Williams). Because they do put it all on the line for us every game.”
Parsons’ time in a Pioneer uniform is slowly dwindling, but just knowing that he’s had some sort of impact — be it on the field or off — comforts the senior utility player.
“It’s a great feeling that I have the impact I do,” Parsons said. “I don’t want to get big-headed about it, but it’s fun having big guys like Brandon (Prather) and Jordan (Brown) around so you can just sneak by some people when they’re not looking.”
And while he may not be the biggest, fastest or even the most athletic guy on the field, chances are if you follow the football, somewhere in the near vicinity will be that familiar No. 28, with those trademark long, straight locks peer out from underneath his helmet.