Dedication is key for Howe sophomore Haley
Howe High School’s varsity football team has something special with its returning sophomore quarterback Austin Haley.
Haley, whose family moved to Howe when he was in first grade, said his first love was baseball. He picked up his first bat at age 2 and started playing youth baseball when he was 4.
He later added basketball and played for the Howe Little Dribblers youth basketball program, but did not play football until he was in fifth grade.
Last year, as a freshman, Haley was an asset on the varsity basketball and baseball teams as well as the football team. Being a multi-sport athlete has helped the 15-year-old him stay prepared for the next sport.
Howe Athletic Director and head football Coach William Jehling believes in training all-around athletes, and that is what he has done with Haley.
“Austin is the type of quarterback that Howe will only get once every 15 years,” Jehling said.
Haley attributes his success last year as a freshman quarterback to great coaches, the support he received from the upperclassman and prayer.
“I learned so much from the former season quarterback, senior Layton Elvington. He took me under his wing. He was always encouraging me and helping me at practice. He was a great safety last year for us, too.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic shut down all spring UIL sports along with the school doors, Haley had to rely on his own dedication to continue training at home. This summer, he played baseball with the Texas Oilers, a summer club team.
When he wasn’t on the road for baseball games, he was coached in football by former NFL quarterback Seneca Wallace, who played a majority of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, at the EXOS clinic in Prosper.
The teen said he hopes to play either baseball or football in college - whichever sport will give him the best opportunity to play at the collegiate level.
Stepping back in the quarterback role for the Bulldogs, he’s a year older, a year stronger and returns with the experience of knowing what it takes to win.
“I think it will be easier since I know how to read the game and I don't think I will be as nervous because I am prepared because of last season,” Haley said.
He said he has always been a bit of an introvert, but being confident in his athletic abilities has brought him out of his shell a bit on and off the field.
Haley thanks his father, Charles, for teaching him about sports and helping him to improve. His dad was his Little League baseball coach and still today he helps him learn new baseball and football techniques.
“Me and my dad talk strategy, watch films together and he helps me learn,” the teen said. “My mom is always just making sure I’m working hard. She has that same drive in her, and I love that.”
With a majority of the Howe Bulldog football team being sophomores, Haley is excited to start this season with his classmates. He said he can’t wait to see what they look like during their senior year.
The Bulldogs have their season opener at 7:30 p.m. today at Callisburg High School.
Howe sophomore Austin Haley in the pocket taking his time to see the field against Whitewright in the scrimmage. [Michelle Carney / For the Van Alstyne Leader]