Madu Eneli has enjoyed many accomplishments on the tennis court, a sport he has played for most of his life.
“He is the best men’s tennis player in this area,” said Jerry Edwards, Harker Heights head football coach. “His sophomore year, he was the men’s singles district champion, and last year he was the mixed doubles champion.”
During the fall, however, Eneli turns in his tennis racket and dons a football uniform, where he has excelled each week on both sides of the ball for the Knights this season.
But Edwards believes Eneli’s tennis background aids him on the gridiron, where the senior is an impact player at outside linebacker and a valuable piece at running back, where he helps form a two-headed monster along with junior Jameel Hodges.
On Sept. 23, in Heights’ District 8-6A opener at Belton, Eneli registered 10 tackles — nine solo — and racked up 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries to aid his team in a 34-28 win.
Eneli’s performance in the six-point triumph earned him the Freddy’s-KDHpressbox.com Player of the Week award.
“That really means a lot to me,” Eneli said of the award. “Every week, I’ve always looked on that page to see whose names were there. Entering the Belton game, I was like, ‘Wow — I still haven’t been on that page. What can I do to get myself on there?’
“Just the fact that I was able to be nominated for it and win it, I’m just ecstatic.”
Eneli entered the game nursing a couple of injuries that wore on his mind a bit. Prior to taking the field, he wrote “mind” and “matter” on both of his wrists.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to perform,” Eneli said. “My whole thing through that whole game was no matter how much pain I was in, it was going to be mind over matter. Whatever I put my mind to, I can do.”
With clear consciousness, Eneli and the Knights triumphed.
“He played a key part of our defense,” Edwards said. “Then, in the second half, we thought we needed to get something going offensively. So we allowed him to carry the ball a lot more.
“You could see that spark he brought to us in the second half. We rushed for about 230 yards in the second half, and a lot of that was him just grinding it up and picking up key first downs.”
Eneli won the award by an overwhelming margin, as he received 56 percent of the vote.
Other players nominated for the award were Ellison junior kicker Morgan Button, Salado senior running back Jake Harvey and Gatesville junior running back Alex Thompson.