An injury sophomore year kept Max McClendon sidelined during University Christian's postseason run. The Fightin' Christians were bounced early in the playoffs his junior season.
He won't be denied a chance to shine his senior year.
"It's a very important year," McClendon said. "This year I'm trying to make it back [to the State Championship]. It's my last year."
This week's Athlete of the Week, McClendon has been "the workhorse" for David Penland's squad for the past two years, but he has put it all together in 2019. Through nine weeks of the regular season, McClendon has rushed for 859 yards and 14 touchdowns on just 119 carries -- good for a 7.2 yards per carry average.
That included a 261-yard performance in Week Eight, a career high.
"Good call by my coaches," McClendon explained. "Every time, there was just a wide open hole [on the offensive line]."
That humble approach is evident both on and off the field.
"He does what he needs to do in the classroom. He's a great character kid," Penland said.
And in what has to be a first, McClendon's "Athlete of the Week" honor comes 32 years after his father also received the honor. Willie McClendon, also a University Christian Fightin' Christian, has been a constant source of support for his son on the gridiron.
"He's always got these little tips and tricks to make me better," Max McClendon said.
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If you know of a deserving athlete who excels in the classroom plus on and off the field and should be recognized as our "Athlete of the Week," nominate them by doing one of the following:
Visit the sports section of www.firstcoastnews.com fill out the athlete of the week form.
You can also email your nomination to firstname.lastname@example.org