Henry Roth is back on the football pitch for the first time since giving it up a year ago. It’s also his last year on the football pitch, so the senior Marshall is trying to make the most of every moment.
“It’s the last time I’ll play football,” Roth said. “I didn’t play last year and I regretted it. My first year of football was eighth grade and I played ninth grade, 10th grade and didn’t play last year.
When asked what he misses most about the game, Roth said: “Everything really – the practices, the games, the energy, everything.”
Last spring, Roth was on the Marshall baseball team that went three rounds deep and said being on that team made him want to play football even more.
“I have buddies who play baseball and football and they’re trying to come back and I was like ‘of course’ after a season like this, I want to play all the sports I can.”
“I think he brought consistency,” said Marshall athletic director and head football coach Jake Griedl. “He comes every day, gives us his best, works his tail. He also brings some experience in the non-dropout category. He was on that baseball team last year that had a long playoff streak that sparked it late in the district and did some really special things for this school. He brings that experience, that mentality of finding a way to this team.
Roth has always been a football fan, even when he wasn’t playing.
“Growing up watching my brother play football, he was really good, watching it on TV with my family,” Roth explained. “My family watches a lot of football. Last year, when I quit, I never thought I would play on Friday nights. So to come back to play, it was pretty crazy.
“It’s a different experience, the adrenaline, the crowds, the band, the lights, there’s nothing like it, especially in Texas,” Roth added.
Roth and his Mavericks won second place in the 9-5A DII district with a 6-3 record overall and 5-1 in district play and will host a first-round playoff game.
“He was a leader in that role and made big plays for us,” Griedl said. “He had a scoop for a touchdown against Mount Pleasant on the punt. He made big plays in the game Pine Tree. He did a good job for us. Anytime you have a player who brings consistency, that’s huge for your program and that’s exactly what he brings.
“I never thought I’d get a touchdown on defense, but when it happens, it happens,” Roth said.
For Roth and the Mavericks, there are a lot of motivating factors, especially Maverick fans.
“Especially at Marshall, our football team is held to such a high standard. You don’t want to let anyone down,” Roth said. “They care so much that motivates us.”
As for what will happen after high school, Roth is undecided.
“I’m trying to finish high school first,” he says.
That includes tonight’s game on the road against the Nacogdoches Dragons.
“You just have to play hard and play fast,” he said when asked what the keys to a victory in the regular season finale were. “If we play fast and we play with 100 per cent effort, we can play with anyone.”
Tonight’s game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. from Dragon Stadium in Nacogdoches.