NORMAN — Zach Hernandez knows how to watch and learn. For his entire life, the Southmoore senior-to-be has been watching and learning from his older brothers, Manual and Anthony.
This is no different than most younger siblings in a big family. However, for Hernandez, instead of emulating his brothers, he decided to do something different.
“Ever since I came up to high school, my brothers, I’m not going to say they’ve been mess-ups, but I noticed they weren’t working hard and weren’t playing,” Hernandez said. “So right when I got into ninth grade, I’ve just been working as hard as I could. And I never wanted to stop because I felt like I’d be quitting myself. I just kept working hard and pushing through, see how everything is going to work out.”
His dedication to putting in a full day’s work earned him the nickname ‘Hard Work’ Hernandez from almost the moment he joined the SaberCats’ program. That ethic has turned the once scrawny benchwarmer to a possible starting wide-out this season.
“When Zach first got here, he wasn’t the most athletic guy,” Southmoore coach Jeremy Stark said. “But since he’s been here, he’s been the hardest working guy we’ve had. It’s paid off for him. It got him on the field as a sophomore a little bit in the secondary. Last year, as a junior, it got him a lot of reps as a wide receiver.”
Hernandez said he is looking forward to this final year with the Cats and sees the team having successful season under Stark, who's in his first year as head coach.
Because he wasn’t the most physically talented player on the team, Hernandez knew the only way he would earn playing time was to outwork his teammates. That doesn’t always make for the most harmonious conversations, but Hernandez knows he’s helping them along with himself.