ARCOLA -- Wyatt Fishel didn’t need to wait long.
The first time Salt Fork punted in Friday’s football season-opener, Fishel was the return man. As the ball rose to its apex and descended, Storm players were closing in on the teen-ager.
Fishel signalled for a fair catch and, surrounded by the opposition, unflinchingly made the catch under pressure.
It’s a play that not all veterans can make so successfully.
The 5-foot-9, 155-pound Fishel is a freshman playing in his first varsity game.
His fair catch came two plays after he tackled a Salt Fork runner for a 7-yard loss.
He showed confidence in himself in the second half. Again, with Salt Fork players swarming in, he fielded a bouncing punt, preventing it from travelling further downfield.
Fishel was tackled immediately, but he enabled the Purple Riders to take possession on their own 46-yard line.
When Arcola’s Jose Tamez punted in the third quarter, Fishel was the first player downfield and made a solo tackle, stopping the Storm’s Cole Taylor after a 1-yard gain.
Here’s a scary thought, offered by veteran Arcola coach Gerald Temples.
“He is a heck of a football player, and he’s only going to get better,” Temples said.
The words he spoke are not unusual. The unique aspect is that he was referring to a freshman who shows the potential to emerge as one of the area’s best, sooner than later.