Editor’s Note: Wednesdays throughout the school year, the Brownwood Bulletin will profile a Howard Payne student-athlete who goes above and beyond in their respective sports, in the classroom and in the community.
Howard Payne University linebacker Britt Boler credits diligent organization to going from nursing a season-ending knee injury to tallying an 11-tackle performance against East Texas Baptist University Saturday.
After tearing his meniscus during practice before the third game of the 2017 season, Boler applied the same organization techniques learned from his sister to keep his grades up, and used those on his physical therapy. In doing so, he recovered before the start of spring practice.
“I was starting last year and I was doing scout team,” Boler said. “I do whatever I can to do my part and I was running. It was wet. I slipped and fell weird and ended up tearing my MCL … I’ve never had to sit out before in my life. It was depressing, but it was more motivating to me because it allowed me to bounce back. I looked at it more as a comeback. I knew I was going to get better and work my butt off to recover as fast as I could.”
Along with using the extra time to recover, Boler also used the extra time to analyze every team the Yellow Jackets faced and visualize where he needed to be on any given play in any given situation. Following Saturday’s performance, Boler believes his enhanced mental acuity has already paid off.
“I got to see the ins and outs of the defense, not just by playing it, but watching it,” Boler said. “I took it as a learning experience. It helped me out this year because I know different schemes, just by seeing it last year. It’s learning from different techniques used by offensive lines or quarterbacks or different personnel they come out with.”
Boler enters his junior year with the program, coming over from being a three-year letterman at Midland High School. He played in all 10 games his freshman year, recording 49 tackles with 16 solo tackles. He saw significant playing time again in his sophomore year, again recording 49 tackles but that year’s total also included four tackles for a loss and a sack. This year, Boler has nearly eclipsed those numbers only five games into the season with 41 tackles, 18 solo and a career high two sacks. Although pleased with his own performance, he is more pleased with the progress of his team.
“Since I’ve been here, this is the best team I’ve been on, no doubt,” Boler said. “The coaches pour into us on everything and go to extreme measures with recruiting. I think we have the best, most athletic team. I’ve never felt so confident matched up with an [East Texas Baptist) team. I told Coach Harris, ‘They weren’t bigger, stronger or faster than us. We just beat ourselves.’ We’ve come such a long way athletically and mentally. We have so much potential.”