Written by Matt Wixon
Wixon: Stardom eludes lineman Lewisville Steven Youngblood, but not success
LEWISVILLE — At 6-2 and more than 300 pounds, Steven Youngblood is big enough to be mistaken for a college offensive lineman. But the Lewisville senior knows this is his last season of football.
And Youngblood is fine with that. His future is in engineering, which is perfect for a guy who loves math and science and is a star student.
But in the present, Youngblood is soaking up every moment on the football field.
“It’s an experience that’s different from anything else,” he said. “I love the atmosphere. Friday nights, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Even if he’s on the sidelines a lot. Youngblood, a backup offensive lineman for Lewisville (2-4, 0-3 District 8-5A), isn’t a gifted athlete. He’s gifted in other ways, as shown by the fact that he’s a senior and only 16 years old. Youngblood was sharp enough to skip a grade in elementary school.
He doesn’t need football or any sport. And yet, in the words of Lewisville coach Dick Olin, Youngblood is “what high school athletics are all about.”
To see why, let’s go back a couple of years to when Youngblood decided to try out for the team. He was a 14-year-old sophomore who had never played football. He was so out of shape that he couldn’t run across the football field.
Not the length of the field; the width of the field.
But Youngblood decided he needed to get in better shape. He also had friends on the team, so when practice began in the summer of 2009, he hit the field running. Or jogging, anyway, and even that was difficult.
“It pretty much kicked me in the teeth,” Youngblood said. “It was a hard thing, but it finally forced me to do something. I hadn’t really done anything to get active before that.”
Youngblood nearly quit during his sophomore year, when he played for the junior varsity team. After a tough week of practice, he didn’t get in the game, so he walked off the field and decided to quit. He was going to be an engineer, not a football player, so why bother working hard for no reward?
But Youngblood decided that playing time wasn’t the only reward. The football players were like brothers to him. And after training with the team, he could run the length of the field with no problem. He was faster, he was stronger and he was happier.
So Youngblood stayed with the team. And two years later, he’s made his coaches proud. He plays some at guard and tackle and is on the field for extra points and field goals. Youngblood is far from the MVP out there, but he’s Olin’s go-to guy for an example of success.
“We continuously talk to our kids about having a good work ethic because you have to prepare for life,” Olin said. “Steven has such a good work ethic, and that’s the key to success. I’m just so proud of the way he has progressed.”
Youngblood is also proud of all the work he has done. But he said working hard in practice doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.
“Now it’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “Even though I might not get as much playing time as I want, it’s still something I love, and I’m glad that I stuck with it.”