HUBBARD — Knowing what lay ahead, it was hard for Boardman’s Anthony Hightower to justify playing high school football one last time.
With his freshman year at Valparaiso coming up in the fall, Hightower wanted to stay healthy so he could get to work as soon as he arrived on campus in the coming months.
But in the end, the opportunity to get dressed one last time at the high school level at Thursday’s Jack Arvin Classic at Hubbard Memorial Stadium was one Hightower couldn’t turn down.
“It meant a lot to be chosen” said Hightower. “I just wanted to get back on the court one more time in a high school atmosphere, just to see how I feel again. It was good to come back there and see if I still had it.
Playing both ways, Hightower made sure to make his impact felt on the game for the Mahoning County All-Star Team.
At cornerback, Hightower sacked Trumbull quarterback and Mathews product Isaiah Munno, forcing a fumble, which was picked up and returned by Fitch’s Tyree Mitchell for a Mahoning touchdown that tied the game before half. -time.
On offense, Hightower caught a pair of deep passes from Mahoning quarterback and Crestview standout Anthony Cusick, including a spectacular pop ball on a 30-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter.
With the Jack Arvin Classic and Boardman Athletics season now in the rearview mirror after last weekend’s Athletics meet, Hightower can now focus on the wait for Valparaiso, where he will play football and continue racing on track.
Hightower said Beacons football coaches first contacted him at the start of his senior season last fall. From there, he struck up a relationship with the coaching staff and then made his official visit. After that, it was an obvious decision.
“I knew this was where I wanted to be” said Hightower.
However, the opportunity to be a dual-sport athlete and track racer didn’t present itself until later.
“The athletics coach contacted me via email and we talked about it, then I decided to do football and athletics,” said Hightower. “I had the opportunity to race on the track and play football – doing two things that I love. So I just got out there and made the most of my opportunities.
Football is Hightower’s primary sport and he will continue to play cornerback and receiver for the Beacons as he did for the Spartans.
But the racetrack will help him stay fit in the offseason, like he did when he was at Boardman.
“I use the track to stay in shape and develop my speed for football,” said Hightower. “When you play at the Division I level, there are a lot of fast people. I know I’m a shorter guy, so I have to provide something that tall people don’t, so I just use my speed and keep going faster.