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Killeen High's Blaze Albino (9) runs inside the 5 to set up a Killeen touchdown against Waco High on Nov. 9 at Waco ISD Stadium.

“Embrace the grind.”

That’s the motto Kangaroo senior running back Blaze Albino has lived by the past four years playing for Killeen.

It’s been a long road to his senior season, but it’s the chase of always being better than he was the day before that has driven Albino’s success on the field.

“When we went to the playoffs, we played against DeSoto,” said Albino, thinking back to his sophomore season. “I was moved up to varsity for that game and I’ve been on varsity ever since.”

That may have been the first step that proved that his hard work paid off, but that wasn’t enough for the young running back.

“I had to keep on pushing and keep on showing the coaches what I had,” Albino said. “I had to embrace the grind.”

Albino initially started playing football at running back and was moved to wide receiver. In his senior year, he had to trust the process.

“I kind of had a rough start switching from wide receiver back to running back,” he explained. “I had to earn my spot again and I had to show the coaches how I contribute to the team.

“I feel like I did that in the last three games.”

Perhaps he feels that way because he admits that he prefers playing running back over wide receiver.

“As a receiver you have to definitely run routes and you have to perfect your routes, too, in order to be open,” Albino explained. “Whereas running back, your lineman create holes for you to run, so that’s pretty easy for me.”

It was his final game with the Roos against Waco that he feels he proved what he was capable of.

“I had to earn my spot back, and that game I started,” Albino said. “And in the first half I scored two touchdowns and had around 120 yards.

“I feel like I showed out that game and let the coaches know what I had.”

The rivalry game against Ellison is the matchup that Albino looked forward to playing most every season.

“There’s a tension coming into that game,” he said. “And both years I think I did pretty well against them.”

And while Albino also enjoys playing another form of football — he also played soccer for Killeen — he chose to focus on only playing the pigskin version this year.

The opportunity to play the game at the next level is an option he is open to, but he admits he hasn’t reached out to any coaches.

“I’m looking into it,” Albino admitted. “I haven’t really put myself out there, but the possibility is there.”

Although his season came to an end sooner than he would have liked, Albino hopes his personal story and journey will continue to inspire the next group of Roos football players.

“Never give up, no matter what position you’re in,” he advised. “You always have to earn your spot.

“Even if you start from the bottom, never give up.”

FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Week 1 — Kadarius Marshall, Killeen

Week 2 — Cameron Everts, Lampasas

Week 3 — Tommy Connell, Copperas Cove

Week 4 — Jack Jerome, Lampasas

Week 5 — Shontez Simmons, Copperas Cove

Week 6 — Mike Santos-Adames, Shoemaker

Week 7 — Ace Whitehead, Lampasas

Week 8 — Mark Walker, Shoemaker

Week 9 — Michael Murray, Lampasas

Week 10 — Denver Holman, Belton

Week 11 — Blaze Albino, Killeen

fcardenas@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7562

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