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.
TUNNEL HILL -- If not for persistent prodding from Westside Middle School football coach Keith Bingham, Chase Humble may never have suited up for the Northwest Whitfield Bruins.
"I started playing football in the eighth grade," said Humble, now a senior defensive end. "Coach Bingham wanted me to play. He asked me to play like every day and eventually I just said yes. All my friends were doing it and I wanted to try it out to see if I liked it. I'm glad that I did it."
Although Humble had an athletic background as a wrestler, those first practices at Westside Middle weren't so easy. He had to learn all facets of football, from putting on his pads correctly to loads of terminology.
"I didn't know a lick," Humble said with a laugh. "I was a complete rookie at everything. It was embarrassing."
Since those difficult times learning the game, Humble has taken to football quite well. Northwest coach Josh Robinson called Humble "one of the best players I've ever had" at Northwest.
"He's a talented player and all that, but he's more valuable as a lead by example-type guy," Robinson said. "I'm not sure in four years I can every recall a date in the weight room that he was not exceptional. He is pound for pound one of the strongest guys that I have ever had in my years at Northwest."
Robinson also called Humble one of the team's "unsung heroes." At the season-ending Region 6-4A meeting last year where coaches select the all-region team, Robinson said several coaches weren't sure who Humble was despite putting up solid defensive statistics.
As a junior, Humble had 65 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He was named to the Daily Citizen-News All-Area first team and a Region 6-4A second-team member.
"He just goes around and plays that we watch and say 'Oh my gosh, how did he get out there to that?' unless you're looking for that, he's not a linebacker that's going to make some unbelievable hit or a DB making a miraculous interception, it just kind of fits his personality," Robinson said. "He just does his job. He's not looking for someone to come out and say 'Oh my gosh you're wonderful!'"
Northwest (1-1) hosts Stone Mountain (1-2) tonight before starting region play next week. Humble, like the rest of his teammates, hopes to help Northwest to the region title.
"Hopefully that will happen if everything goes good," Humble said. "So far it's been pretty good. I think we're going to be pretty good in the region games this year against like Pickens and Ridgeland. I'm hoping that we can beat them."