Some things are just like breathing.
Football is like that for Tug Valley’s Caleb May.
The junior safety/receiver found football at an early age and described his relationship with the sport as something that was simply just in his nature.
May has been a consistent playmaker for the Panthers basketball team and has had the same effect on the football program.
“Once you play the game so long its hard to want to stop, I know the love I have for football is real,” May said.
However, May can’t deny the fact that he is an exceptional talent on the hardwood; the gridiron isn’t as forgiving and is much more physically demanding than its counterpart.
“I guess it’s just in my blood,” May said. “I really enjoy the physical aspect football brings. You don’t get that much on the court like you do on the field. Plus playing both adds to my game in each sport.”
And when you see this young man play it’s easy to see how he implements both sports on the field.
“I could just be playing and focusing my time on one sport, but I think one leads to another and both have things that make you better at the other,” May said. “Plus, I like playing with my guys.”
As a receiver and a safety, body control is an all too important aspect of the game. Something that May has seamlessly added to his game through playing basketball.
“I have to keep my head on a swivel as a receiver,” May said. “I have to see everything happening around me, just like when I play point guard in basketball. Basketball made me a (better) leader. I know the quarterback is typically the leader in football, but sometimes those leaders get frustrated and they need someone to pick them up.”
May’s teammates have raved about his ability to lead and motivate. His voice is heard throughout the locker room and even helps the guys who were named leaders on the team get back in the groove when needed. May has been called a “leader’s leader,” someone capable of knowing their role, but able to lead when called upon no matter the circumstance.
This role is perfect for someone such as May, especially since he is playing safety on defense and will be expected to make big decisions on the fly.
“I get to see everything back there,” May said. “I make strong calls depending on offensive alignment. I’m not actually a captain for the team, but everybody has those days at practice and stuff, but I try my best to be there for them. I’m a safety for a reason. I’ve got their backs and they know it.”
May is an ideal teammate even going as far as to challenge some of the other players on his team. This is something that pushes both players involved to grow and develop faster.
May and teammate Ethan Varney like to compete against each other.
“When I go out there I always think I’m the best, but its good to have other guys that feel the same way like Ethan (Varney),” May said. “We are always going at it in practice. It’s like I’ll push you, but you have to push me kind of thing,”
He went on to talk about their relationship on the offensive side of the ball.
“ I like Ethan (Varney) at quarterback,” May said. “He definitely has the arm and like I said earlier, playing two sports has helped this guy as well where he plays baseball. He can put it out there and I have the faith in myself to be able to catch it.”
Given the new style of offense the Panthers look to run, which will be fast paced, it plays right into the styles of players like May and his quarterback.
Coach Ford’s expectations have influenced every single player on the team so much that May even reiterated the consensus among his teammates.
“ I know we are in a lot better shape after just a week and half worth the practices as to where last season we weren’t in shape even halfway through, but that’s just a testament to coach Ford for pushing us like he has,” May said.
May is looking forward to playing Sherman (Week 2) this year,
“We owe them one,” May said.
The Panthers will need May’s talents to really make an impact on both sides of the ball and he is looking to have a big year in hopes to give his team a chance to make a deep playoff push.
The multi-sport athlete is set to have a big season this year.
Tug Valley will kickoff the season Friday, August 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Hurley, Va.