Mason Chapman: Player of the Year Candidate

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When the scoreboard read 0:00, Alexander’s senior football players lined up hand in hand, stretching from goal line to goal line. They walked down the field they have called home for the last 4 years, reminiscing on the good times they have had together, as the crowd cheered them on.

For senior Mason Chapman, it was a very special moment.

“It was awesome to be able to walk that one last time with my men.”

By definition, a team is a group of people who work together. Chapman was a team captain and one of the team’s biggest impact players, but is always putting his team first, an ideal shared by all of his teammates.

“We’ve never had one kid being selfish on our team everybody always wants the person beside them to do good and are worried about winning not about themselves,” Chapman said. “That’s what’s so special about our team.”

With the entire team’s mentality in-sync, Chapman was an obvious choice to serve as a captain for the second year in a row.

“I’m really comfortable on the field and I’m comfortable with calling the shots and leading things,” Chapman said. “It’s something natural to me that I enjoy doing.”

While leading came naturally, picking up a new position did not. Chapman, who played running back during his entire Alexander tenure, tried his hand at quarterback during Alexander’s summer football camp at the University of Rio Grande.

It didn’t come easy, but it did come eventually.

“I wasn’t really comfortable with quarterback at first, but over the course of scrimmages and stuff I got more comfortable,” Chapman said. “I knew when I was ready to play running back and quarterback and I figured I could do both,”

His combination of physicality and diversity represents shades of former Florida and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

“That’s probably who I think I’m a lot alike as far as the way I play, with passion and everything,” Chapman said.

He did exactly that. Chapman finished the season 29-of-46 for 451 yards and seven touchdowns through the air, but his biggest impact come on the ground. The senior amassed 1,245 yards and 24 touchdowns, serving as the centerpiece for a rough and tumble Alexander offense.

This was also the case on the other side of the ball where Chapman finished with 84 tackles and three interceptions.

Chapman is rarely seen off the field and that’s the way he likes it. He sees playing both sides as a way to get his “feet wet” and “stay warm,” viewing it as an advantage to his opponent whose muscles may be getting cold as they stand on the sideline.

Chapman doesn’t want to miss out on a single chance to play alongside the guys with whom he’s been playing for many years.

He and his teammates, after building Alexander’s program from the bottom-up, finally experienced how it felt to work through a championship-caliber season, but no moment felt sweeter than Alexander’s 42-13 stomping of Trimble.

“It was the first game we truly dominated the full game in every spectrum of it and everybody stood out,” Chapman said. “We all did what we had to do to not just win that game but completely take over, and that was one of my best performances I’ve ever played.”

“We found out how good we were after that game.”

It took a great deal of hard work and dedication for Chapman and the Spartans to get that point, given the poor state of Alexander’s program when this season’s freshmen came in. The Spartans have transitioned from conference cellar-dweller to the team to beat, and when he reflected on that journey, Chapman knew exactly what he would he would tell the freshman version of himself prior to that journey.

“Be confident,” he said, “Every week I really feel confident before the game and I’m really jittery to play, not in a scared way but a confident way and back then I couldn’t say that I was always confident. I was, younger, smaller and a lot more scared and tentative and now I think that every week I have that confidence.”

In order to succeed, one must be confident in their-selves and trust that their team has their back every step of the way.

This year, the community saw a new Mason Chapman. A more confident, more assured player that wasn’t there in years past. Head coach Alex Penrod has had a lot to do with that transition.

In addition to revitalizing Alexander’s program, Penrod has been an integral part of Chapman’s success over the last two years.

“Coach Penrod has been close to me ever since we got here our relationship is not just football,” Chapman said. “He has always been on me and always tries to make me a better player than I ever thought I could be or would be.”

Penrod serves as Chapman’s guide off the field, but Chapman was quick to point to the men behind his success on the field.

“The entire offensive line,” Chapman said, without hesitation, knowing full well his success depends heavily upon their play.

“They really work their butts off,” Chapman added. “They carry the workload for our team.”

That’s the kind of player Chapman has grown into: One who puts the team first and does not let personal accolades and accomplishments get in the way of picking up wins, which Alexander did ten times in 2015.

One who has helped return glory to Alexander.