Throckmorton Football's 7th Man

Throckmorton freshman Ben McCartney isn't very big, even by six-man football standards.

Standing about 5'6" and listed, maybe generously, at 125 pounds, he gives up 35 pounds to his next-smallest teammates.

He admits it's one of the reasons he originally was not going to play high school football. "I'm a little smaller," he said this week. "Also, I live on a family ranch and I had some things that were a little more important."

But for one week this season, he came up big.

"Over half of our team went to the FFA convention in Kentucky," said first-year Throckmorton Head Coach Shane Mallory. "And so that left us with five guys at practice."

"I was in the gym," Ben explained. "The coaches approached me and asked me and Adam Dennis, if [we] could fill in if the FFA team didn't make it back from Kentucky, and I told them, 'Sure.'"

Luckily the team made it back just in time for the game at Gold-Burg, which the Greyhounds won 72-0, and that big win meant Ben wound up getting a reward for his hard work.

"I actually got to play," he said. "And it was really enjoyable."

After that one week, Ben wound up staying with the team, acting as a scout team member in practice to allow his older teammates to rest bumps and bruises during the week.

"We don't have many on the team, 14 to be exact," said senior quarterback Lanham Brown. "And every week, you know, somebody will have some bumps and bruises so we won't want to practice them as hard. And Ben is really great to come in so we can have a scout team on both sides of the ball."

Now, Ben has gone from not even being on the team in mid-October, to taking the field at AT&T Stadium this Saturday for the State Championship game against #6 Groom.

"It's really cool, I feel special that they've accepted me," Ben said. "They didn't make any complaints or anything about me jumping in, since I didn't have to go through two-a-days, the long runs."

The tight-knit Throckmorton community has rallied around Ben, calling him their "seventh man."

"After the football games, I'm getting congratulated like all the other football players," Ben said. "When people see me they're always telling me, 'Good job,' and how they're proud of me joining up with the team."

"It stands for what this whole community is," Coach Mallory said. "When somebody needs help, they're going to get it. If somebody needs something, somebody's gonna rise.

"In my short time being here, that's one thing I've really, I really have taken away. That the people here really are behind each other."

Ben said he's unsure if he'll continue with the team next season, but he's grateful for the opportunity and happy he answered the call when he was needed.

"It makes me feel real honored that they asked me," he said.