His story: Noel took up football in sixth grade and played running back and safety through middle school. Entering his freshman year, he wasn't sure he wanted to play in high school. "A lot of my friends didn't want to play football and I was really considering not playing," he said. But his dad convinced him to try one season, and Ben really liked it. He was a B team player as a freshman, but by the end of his sophomore season he was seeing spot duty on the varsity squad. Now a senior, he's the team's leading receiver. Through three games, he has 17 catches for 310 yards (an average of 18.2 yards per reception) and four touchdowns.
His goal: "Coming off an 0-10 season last year, the biggest thing was just to win one game, and we got that last Friday (41-0 at Dallas Sunset). So hopefully we can build on that and see what happens. Personally, I want to better last year's season. I don't have any set numbers or anything, I just want to sort of go with it and see what happens."
He said: "I'm not going to go out there and get in my team's face and be a real vocal guy; that's just not me. It never has been me and I don't know if it ever will be me. I like to go out there and do what I do and lead by example and hopefully everyone else picks up on it and says, 'I want to do what he's doing.' [Playing both ways] is definitely tiring, but it's fun to do it. It wears you out, but you get the feeling at the end of the game that you've done all you can do."
Paschal coach Matt Cook said: "He's not a verbal leader, but the neat thing is he's one of those guys the kids as a group count on to be a big playmaker for them. I would say he's an inspirational leader, the guy that everybody expects to be consistent, to come up with the big play. He leads by example in regard to his effort and commitment to the program, so it's not so much what he says but it's what he does. He's very cerebral. He's just God-awful smart; he's as bright as they come. He's one of those kids you want your little boy to be like him. Ben is a testament to what we preach at Paschal.
"I see him as a kind of Wes Welker-type guy. He can handle 10 or 15 receptions a game, but if you watch Wes Welker, they move him around, put him in motion and he's a great little blocker. They move him all over the field like we do with Ben. We can hand the ball off to Ben and use him as a blocking back; we can run screens with him, or definitely go deep with him, or that intermediate route. If you try to take something away, he's got the talent to come after you some other way."
Fun fact: In addition to football, Noel plays on the baseball team. He's also in the top 10 percent of his class and many of his teammates joke that he'll one day be president of the United States.
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