Highland Rim Hornet Rhett Persell was selected Overall League MVP for the Elk Valley Football Conference for 2021. He received the award after a vote of all the head coaches in the nine-team league.
“Rhett is a phenomenal young man, who does everything you ask him to do,” said Coach Nathan King. “He comes to practice and gives it 100% every day. He is a leader on and off the field for us, he bonds with the young kids in the hallways at school and is a genuinely good kid. He has tremendous athletic ability and does it all for us on the field. He is on all of our special team units, and also plays offense and defense. He is just a great person and a great athlete.”
The Elk Valley Times sat down with Persell and asked 10 questions to get to know him a little better.
EVT: How do you feel about the coaches in this league voting for you as the MVP?
RP: It was awesome and really got me pumped up for the Championship game. It was a blessing.
EVT: What do you think makes this Hornets team special?
RP: The bond we all have. We all hang out together outside of school, we are just so close.
EVT: Outside of sports, what do you enjoy?
RP: I enjoy spending time with my family and trying to make everyone happy around me.
EVT: Was there a moment in this season where you thought to yourself, “We might be able to win the championship.”
RP: Yes, there was. It was our first game of the year and on the opening kickoff I went down and hit a guy pretty good. I looked over at the sideline, and Coach King was going crazy. I thought then, this is going to be a great year.
EVT: Do you have any funny moments or sayings Coach King says all the time?
RP: Ha ha. Yes, after every practice he tells us to make sure to check our pee. Make sure it is clear. (Athletes do this to check hydration.)
EVT: Do you have a pre-game routine?
RP: I pray before every game. I put my hand on my helmet in the locker room and say a quick prayer. I make sure the Lord is with me and my teammates and coaches and everyone stays safe.
EVT: If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only have one food, what would it be?
RP: I’m going to have to take me some macaroni and cheese.
EVT: Is there something goofy you do that even your parents don’t know about?
RP: I fake laugh a lot. I want people to think they are funny to make them feel good, even if they aren’t.
EVT: What do you want to tell Coach King about what he has meant to you and your teammates this year?
RP: He has meant a lot to us. Coming into his first year here, he really just fit right in. Colton Tate and I came to our first practice, and Coach King had so much energy it affected all of us.
EVT: What will you miss most about playing football at Highland Rim?
RP: The bond that goes through the school. It just feels like a big family here. Everyone comes and supports the games and the atmosphere is just awesome.
Persell stats for the season:
22 receptions for 568 yards and 12 touchdowns;
15 rushes for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns; and
47 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 1 defensive touchdown.