Athlete of the year: football

Part of a brotherhood

Jesse Cable runs the ball during a game this past football season.

Eddie Bruning/for the Itemizer-Observer
Jesse Cable runs the ball during a game this past football season.

INDEPENDENCE — Jesse Cable’s talent on the turf is impressive; there’s not much else to be said about that. However, his talent is only a sliver of why he was voted most outstanding football player by his teammates, and why he was nominated by head football coach Shane Hedrick as the I-O’s 2018 Athlete of the Year for football.

Hard work is Cable’s defining factor, according to Hedrick.

“His work ethic and preparation is second-to-none, on and off the field,” he said. “He never left the field as he started on offense, defense and special teams. In his last game as a Panther, he had 196 yards receiving in a playoff game vs Churchill.” He is also “a very good leader by example,” Hedrick said.

Cable, a quiet, a senior who stands six feet and two inches, becomes an animal as he tears down the turf. You wouldn’t want to get in his way.

Season-wide, he clinched 65 receptions, 1,040 rushing yards, and 15 touchdowns for the season. On defense, he led the team in tackles with 122, eight tackles for loss, and four interceptions.

Watching him play, you’d expect, and almost hope, that he wants to go on to play college football after he graduates in the spring. But those aren’t in his future plans.

“(I’ve) kind of been playing my whole life, and I dunno, a lot of people ask, they see the way I play, and they expect that I’m just going to want to go on to play,” Cable said. “But I don’t know; I think you really gotta love it to play at the next level, and if there’s kind of a doubt, than it’s probably not for you.”

He also isn’t a huge fan of watching football on TV.

“I’m kind of weird; everyone loves watching sports...but I kind of just like it when I’m playing it. I mean, I’ll watch it and stuff but ... I like to play.”

That passion for the game was evident this past season, but he’s had to work hard to get that good, talent aside. His biggest improvement throughout the four years he’s been playing with the Panthers was “probably my offensive side of the ball,” he said. “That’s kind of just from, we have a bunch of good coaches here that helped me after practice or before school, just catching footballs and just working out, because I played defense my sophomore year, but I didn’t play offense until my junior year, and I think that’s what I improved on the most: Being a receiver.”

The thing Cable said he likes most about football is the environment.

“Probably just, like during our home games, where we’re playing really good, where you have all the fans there and the band, that’s kind of special, just the atmosphere.”

He also enjoys the brotherhood that comes with being a part of a football team.

“Having a bunch of guys playing together, a big team,” he said. “It is a grind; you start in the summer and it ends now when it’s cold. That’s how you know you did good: when you finish when it gets cold outside.”

The season ended on a bittersweet note for Cable, when they lost in the first round of playoffs to Churchill, 56-21.

“It didn’t end like you want it to,” he said, “but it was fun; we had a good group of guys, and I enjoyed playing with them.”

Being done with high school football isn’t something Cable has fully registered,

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” he said.

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