The huddle is a sacred place in football; one where the team and game are the only things that count. We’re going inside the huddle by talking to football players on the POWERADE FAB 50 teams to find out their most valuable lessons learned -- on or off the field -- that contribute to their success. This week's edition marks the final installment of the season for the series. For the complete series, click here.
Senior quarterback Brooks Haack of Katy (Texas) has developed into a leader over the course of his three years as a starter. The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder is committed to Louisiana-Lafayette on a football scholarship. Haack is a 3.82 student with designs on majoring in sports marketing.
Haack threw for 1,531 yards, 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions as a junior and led the Katy attack this year with more than 2,200 yards in the air and 31 scoring passes while completing nearly 60 percent of his throws with just four interceptions. Katy went 12-1 and reached the Class 5A regional quarterfinals.
This signal-caller's development into a true team leader took both time and some support from veteran teammates.
"From a leadership standpoint, during my sophomore year to my junior year to my senior year, I feel like I grew a lot as a leader and had to step up a lot," said Haack. "My first start was my sophomore year in the state semifinal game. I was just 16-years-old in front of a lot of people and I had seniors in the huddle, and I just really couldn't take charge. I felt like it wasn't my turn."
"They're two people that really stood out for me in my mind. Shep was on the offensive side, and he was always just like, 'We've got you. Just play within yourself in our offense and we'll take care of everything else,'" said Haack.
"Sam, from a defensive standpoint, was just great saying, like, 'Hey, you just get the ball into the end zone a couple of times and we will take care of the defense.' They said just do your job, and that just made me feel a lot better about myself and my abilities to lead the offense."
This past season, Haack found himself playing the roles that Klinke and Holl did for him, only Haack did it for freshman running back teammate Rodney Anderson, who replaced injured starter Adam Taylor in the first game of the year.
"Adam Taylor got hurt after having a breakout season the year before and he was supposed to have an even better season this year," said Haack. "Then Rodney got moved to starting running back. I just had to go up to him and tell him, 'Hey, you're doing good,' because he's 14 and playing Texas high school 5A football."
The fast freshman tallied 18 total touchdowns and gained more than 1,300 total yards.
"Rodney had a great season, and I think that my leadership and that of the team helped him out with that," said Haack. "By the time that I was a senior, I felt in command of the offense and I felt as if I knew how to handle everything from an offensive and defensive standpoint."
ROLE MODEL: Matte Haack, sister -- "That's got to be mys sister, Matte. She's 21. She'll text me before every game just to say 'good luck,' and, 'you know what you need to do.' After a good win or after a loss, she's the first one that I see. I know that she's been through it because she's been at the highest level in college because she plays softball. Freshman year they went to the national championships at the University of Arizona and lost to UCLA, and then she transferred to the University of Louisiana. She's done it all. She's given me her knowledge of how I should handle myself as a person on the field and off the field."