Rex Spencer isn't sure why he waited until his senior year to start playing football, but he has proven to be a valuable addition to the Sterlington Panthers.
When Spencer suited up for spring practice, it marked his first foray into organized football at any level. Despite the inexperience, he emerged from spring drills as a starting wide receiver.
“Rex has come a long way in a short time,” Sterlington coach Jason Thompson said. “He's been a reliable — probably the most consistent — receiver we've had all year. I wish we had him for another couple of years.”
Playing in an offense that isn't conducive to wide receivers putting up big numbers, Spencer has caught five passes for 66 yards. In the veer scheme, the wide receiver is basically an extension of the offensive line.
“Rex is one of those selfless players who is going to do whatever is required of him,” Thompson said.
Besides starting at wide receiver, Spencer is the Panthers' No. 3 quarterback. Though he would only be called upon in an emergency situation, the fact that Spencer is playing quarterback in the first place is a testament to how quick he has picked up the game.
“Rex is sharp, smart and able to pick things up quickly,” Thompson said. “Considering he's only been out for a year, it's pretty impressive that he's gotten to where he is in such a short amount of time.”
Spencer, who has played basketball and baseball for the Panthers, is an aspiring coach. Thompson says Spencer has what it takes to be successful in the coaching profession.
“Rex has the natural football instincts and he's a patient kid,” Thompson said. “He would make a fine coach.”
NOWN: Why did you decide to come out for football as a senior?
Rex Spencer: I felt like I would be all right at football. This was my last chance to play and I decided I didn't want to miss out.
NOWN: What sports did you playing growing up?
Spencer: I played basketball and baseball all the way through.
NOWN: Do you regret waiting so late to get started in football?
Spencer: Yes sir, I do. Football's awesome. I like it a lot.
NOWN: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of football?
Page 2 of 2 - Spencer: My least favorite part is the injuries. My favorite part is when I get the ball in a game.
NOWN: What is your role in the offense?
Spencer: Mainly blocking. I get a pass thrown my way every now and then.
NOWN: How do you spend a typical practice?
Spencer: During indo, I'm with the quarterbacks. The rest of the time, I'm with the receivers.
NOWN: What challenges does Jonesboro-Hodge's defense present for the Panthers' offense?
Spencer: They put a lot of guys in the box to try to stop the run. They bring both safeties up, which makes it look like they have four linebackers.
NOWN: What are the hardest hits you have received and delivered?
Spencer: I got hit pretty hard last week against Winnfield. I was running an out route and jumped in the air to catch the ball and the cornerback laid me out. My head slammed into the ground.
I've never hit anybody very hard.
NOWN: Other than the game, what is your favorite homecoming activity?
Spencer: I'm looking forward to going to eat on Saturday before the dance. It's going to be a group of us.
NOWN: How's the basketball team looking this year?
Spencer: We basically lost five starters and three of them are playing in college now, so we probably shouldn't be quite as good as we were last year. We're going to do the best we can to surprise some people, though.
NOWN: Outside of sports, what is something you hope to accomplish during your senior year?
Spencer: I want to make a 23 on the ACT.
NOWN: What are your future plans?
Spencer: I plan on going to college — most likely ULM — and going into coaching.
NOWN: Why coaching?
Spencer: There's nothing I like more than sports. I don't know if I would be happy doing anything else.