Last Saturday, in the second quarter of Mansfield Timberview’s Class 5A Division II region final win over Abilene, Wolves quarterback Chuck Taylor continued to make a name for him self.
Taylor faked a handoff on the Timberview 28-yard line, slipped through the masses at the line of scrimmage and with one quick spin away from a charging safety, he was gone for a 72-yard touchdown run.
“He’s phenomenal. That … touchdown was just supposed to be a zone read and he breaks it,” Timberview coach Mark Walker said after the game. “Was that a touchdown call? No. That’s Chuck Taylor.”
Taylor also ended Abilene Cooper’s season the week before, running in a game-winning 25-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left to play.
While Taylor’s forte is making plays with his feet, he isn’t shabby throwing the ball either. He’s thrown for 1,681 yards and 14 touchdowns in his senior year.
He has all the intangibles and the will to win of a Tim Tebow-type leader.
Yet, no one wants him to play football at the next level.
Taylor has not received a single football scholarship offer despite becoming one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the state.
If playing to honor offensive coordinator Cody McCarty, who died this season, isn’t enough motivation to win a state title, Taylor also carries the chip on his shoulder of being snubbed by college football.
“I want to show them that they missed something,” Taylor said.
It’s a sentiment his current head coach feels as well.
“He got his feelings hurt because no one is recruiting him,” Walker said. “The boy’s phenomenal. I don’t understand why anyone in the state of Texas wouldn’t want him playing for them.”
But it’s not just Taylor who carries that burden with him every time he hits the field or runs the ball. He has the support of his entire team as it fights through the last game or two of the season.
“Kids believe in him because he’s a team player,” Walker said. “It isn’t about him. He deals the ball and got lit up a few times. He could easily be selfish and keep the ball.”
While college football teams were passing on Taylor, University of Texas-Arlington baseball coach Darin Thomas didn't, and he received Taylor's commitment to play outfield for the Mavericks next season.
Thomas was impressed by Taylor in both sports.
“I saw him play football as a sophomore at Cowboys Stadium on Labor Day weekend and asked, ‘Who is this sophomore quarterback they’ve got in the game?’ and was told he plays baseball as well,” Thomas said.
Thomas visited Taylor at his home after Timberview lost to Mansfield in the regular season and talked with him about his football team. At the time, Thomas said, he was a little down because they had lost a few games and he was frustrated by the fact that he wasn’t being recruited for football.
Thomas offered a few encouraging words, and Timberview hasn't lost since the visit.
“I said, ‘Hey, I’ve watched a lot of high school football in the last 12 years around here and you guys are about as talented as anyone I’ve seen. If you start playing good you’ve got a chance to go all the way,’" Thomas said. "Did I mean that? I don’t know, but they haven’t lost a game since.”
So, Taylor will take his talents to Arlington next season to bring an athletic spark to the Mavericks' base-running game in a new era of aluminum bats with much less pop. Once he’s spent a few years training specifically in one sport, Thomas says he could very well move on to the next level via the MLB draft.
But until then, Taylor has two more games to prove to the state and every college coach in it that they missed out.
“He’s felt like he’s got to prove something and I guess we’ve got to state to get it done,” Walker said.