Anyone who has watched MacArthur’s football team compete this season can see the amount of effort that running back Jeremy Hutchinson gives whenever he’s on the field.
In five games he’s been leading the Highlanders in rushing, often playing with a tender ankle sprain. While he is eager to reach the pinnacle of high school football with a gold ball, his motivation goes well beyond helping Mac reach that lofty goal.
On Nov. 14, 2020, his mother Diana Finkley passed away at the tender age of 54, leaving behind Jeremy and his older brother Davon Finkley.
Now he lives to honor her memory with his skills on the football field and in the classroom.
“She was always there for me, taking me to youth football practices and supporting both myself and Davon,” Hutchinson said Monday before practice. “I wear her necklace during each game to remind me that she’s looking down on me and helping me get through each day.”
After her death Davon moved back to Lawton to be here to support and take care of his younger brother, from cooking his favorite lasagna to helping him become a better player.
Hutchinson has already enjoyed the thrill of being around a gold ball celebration as he was on the field when Davon and the 2014 Highlanders won the State Class 5A title. He dived right into the melee on the field and wound up in the team picture between Davon and Coach Brett Manning.
“I grew up wanting to be just like them; I wanted to follow in their footsteps and do the same thing,” he said. “That team really played together and that’s how they won.”
Last week the Highlanders went to Altus and at first the offense struggled, leaving Coach Manning less than happy.
“We just didn’t play well at the start,” Manning said. “We had too many mistakes and just couldn’t get anything going offensively. But our defense kept us in the game and we finally got the offense going.”
Hutchinson said it was simple to figure out.
“I think we just overlooked Altus,” he said. “We were looking ahead and just didn’t get a good start. When those things happen, we have to forget the bad plays and look forward to the next. But our defense kinda bailed us out early.”
Hutchinson is like most high school students, he loves video games, especially Madden and 2K.
He is also working to get some of his college basics out of the way, taking English Comp and Phycology since there is little doubt some college will love to have him on its football roster.
So, to test his writing skills he was asked to explain what happened at Altus.
“I would have explained we are an amazing team when play well,” he said. “If we just fix the little mistakes and deal with those we will be tough to beat. We also have to not look ahead and just make one play at a time.”
This week the Highlanders host another team that is rebuilding when Ardmore comes to town Friday for Mac’s Homecoming at Cameron Stadium.
“Our defense has been playing well and while they have some capable players and good athletes, I feel we can handle them if we just execute like we can. We have to play well to win.”
While Hutchinson is rather soft-spoken, he is still providing leadership.
“When I need to speak up I will, but I’m more of a show-them leader and just go out and set a good example with my play. I just love playing with these guys. It’s all about the brotherhood.”
And while that team brotherhood is important on the field; having Davon providing that emotional and financial support fills every day with hope of a bright future for Hutchinson so he can live up to the goals his late mother wanted so much for him to attain.