Editor's note: This story is featured in the Daily Citizen-News' weekly high school football Touchdown! section. Grab an issue in papers on Fridays during football season, or stop by our office for a copy.
CHATSWORTH -- There are some people that don't know the name of North Murray High School's center on the football team.
That's not because he's new or he hasn't made himself known -- it's because most people know Aaron McCurdy as "Boots."
"When I was about 4 years old and I was playing T-ball, instead of wearing cleats I wore cowboy boots," the senior Mountaineer said. "I still wear boots a lot, but that's just how it was. That's what most coaches and teachers and just people in general call me. Some people don't even know my real name."
McCurdy wears cleats these days when he suits up for the football team, and you might see him in the middle of North Murray's offensive line just as much as he wears his beloved footwear.
"He's always played center," coach Preston Poag said. "He's just a smart, smart player and that's what you would want. I have all the confidence in the world in him."
McCurdy is just one piece of the extra large Mountaineer senior class that is on a mission to win its first region championship in school history. North Murray (6-1, 5-0 in Region 6-3A) travels to Haralson County (6-0, 4-0 in Region 6-3A) tonight for the next crucial step in that goal.
As his team knocks off one game at a time, McCurdy said he feels right at home. With the exception of former signal-caller Preston Poag Jr. -- who graduated from North Murray last spring -- McCurdy has always been paired with quarterback Ladd McConkey.
"Some of these guys are the closest friends I've had in my entire life," McCurdy said. "It's been great because both me and Ladd missed it. It was always us on the same team and we've got a bond that comes with that. Getting to do it again our senior year has been awesome."
Besides football, McCurdy also plays first base for the Mountaineers' baseball team, something he picked back up last season for the first time since middle school after wrestling for several years.
Looking to the future, McCurdy thinks he would make a great special education teacher.
"I want people to know that I'm easy to talk to," he said. "I love talking to people. I'll talk to anyone -- strangers, people on the street. I'm a pretty loving guy. I'm mean on the football field, but I'm really a teddy bear."
Before that happens, though, McCurdy said he's focused on football.
"A region championship is what people have told us since we were little bitty kids," he said. "Even since middle school, they've told us this senior class is supposed to bring a region championship to North Murray. Even a long playoff run and we've heard state championship -- all kinds of stuff like that. But, you've always got to hit your first goal first and that's the region. That's what we want."