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McAteer is Jackets' workhorse

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By Hammond Knight

BUFORD – Brent McAteer is dedicated to Buford High School football.Football has been a part of his life since age 8 when he donned his first pair of pads.McAteer is so dedicated a shoulder with three tears couldn’t stop him from toting the ball for the Yellow Jackets last season. He didn’t let the injury slow him down.McAteer, an all-region pick and the team’s Most Outstanding Back Award winner, led the Jackets in rushing, including a 130-yard, two-touchdown performance in BHS’s win over the top-ranked Chesterfield, which eventually won the Class A Div. I state crown last season.McAteer said once he gets rolling, his shoulder isn’t a bother.“Well, once the adrenaline gets pumping, you don’t feel it much.” McAteer said. “It only really hurts when it popped out of place and I had to pop it back in.”After having off-season surgery, McAteer, who compares his running style to former Tampa Bay Bucs’ running back Mike Alstott, is leading the Yellow Jackets in rushing again this year, this time battling an injured hand.“Brent’s a tough kid,” Buford High School coach Mike Wells said. “He has played through injuries that would have had a lot of kids out.”McAteer hopes his perseverance will pay off for the Yellow Jackets. Wells stresses McAteer’s importance in the Jackets’ Wing-T offense.“He’s our leading rusher, this year and last year,” Wells said. “He rarely has a negative yardage play. When we get in short-yardage situations, we are more than likely going to try to get the ball to him. He is a physical back.”McAteer is still haunted by the Jackets 2007 playoff loss in the first round to Marion. The Jackets led 22-15 in the second half, but let Marion rally and take a 36-22 win. He said this year his team has learned its lesson.“Our goal is to make the playoffs and win a state championship.” McAteer said. “To do that we need to play as a team and cut out mental errors, like fumbles and jumping offsides. I think that playoff loss made us more focused.“We won’t let that happen again because we will play hard till the final whistle blows,” McAteer said.Being a senior makes every game more important to McAteer, especially the county rivalries, and he works during practice to help the younger players on the team succeed.After the season, McAteer hopes to play college ball and earn a physical education degree and return to coach at Buford.He discovered his passion after helping his teammates learn the game.“He has knowledge of football and sports in general,” Wells said. “Brent would be a good coach.”“It is something I would really enjoy,” McAteer said.