Three games into the Greater Spokane League football season, North Central back Brian Mack was having a stellar year.
“There was no doubt in my mind he was going to be the All-League fullback,” said his coach, Wes Hobbs.
Mack was averaging more than 140 yards rushing per game in what Hobbs called NC’s “Mack attack.”
The senior was second in the GSL in scoring with eight touchdowns.
Friday night, during this season of unkind breaks for the Indians, Mack suffered the unkindest of all.
Early in the first quarter of NC’s game at Central Valley, Mack had just blocked for teammate Ray Bowser during a kickoff return.
He was pushing himself off the ground with his arm, when someone was blocked into it. The blow broke the ulna, the larger of two bones in the forearm.
Mack’s season has come to an end.
“When I came out of the game I knew it was broken,” said Mack. “I try to keep my mind off of it or I get upset.”
Despite the fact NC had won only once in 13 games, Mack kept on trucking.
He didn’t start at fullback until the fourth game of last season, but finished sixth in league with 517 yards gained on 131 carries. He already had 427 yards despite three losses this season.
“We had enough offense to win, but had 15 turnovers,” said Hobbs of his hard-luck team. “I feel bad for the kids. They’re working their humps off and are tremendously improved.”
Mack and his best friend, center Derrick Phillips, are a case in point. The two didn’t get along until they arrived at NC as freshman, when, said Mack, he had a built-in lineman who liked to block for him.
The runner and his blocker attended two football camps last summer, in Nebraska and Wisconsin.
“Derrick had received letters from the schools. As soon as I was asked to go along, I went,” said Mack.
Mack expressed gratitude to Phillips’ dad, who provided both with airfare.
“There were a lot of specific drills for our positions which was pretty neat,” said Mack. “I tried to learn as much as I could.”
From the time he began playing youth football, Mack said, he basically ran over people.
This year he had improved his speed through weight training and his ability to cut. He relished the opportunity to pack the ball in the Indians wing T offense.
“It is the best for me,” he said. “I get the load of carries and the more I get the ball, the more I love it.”
Now that he’s sidelined by injury, he’s grateful he got a chance to play at least half the season with his sophomore brother Steve.
His role with NC’s football team will change.
“The sophomores are good athletes. My brother’s in that class and I know a lot of them because they hang out at our house,” Mack said. “I’ll provide more leadership to help the young kids.”
Football is his sport of choice. Down the road, Mack hopes there’s a college waiting with room for the 190-pound rusher.
He’ll also keep tabs on NC’s future, which he asserts will take a turn for the better.
“We have a lot of talent but not a lot of lucky breaks,” said Mack.
Losing him this early in the season was the unluckiest.
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