Quinton Hixson had quite an athletic school term last year as a junior at Northern Bedford Area High School.
His future may be even brighter.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Hixson, who will be a four-year starter at both offensive and defensive tackle for NB, was a second team all-state selection on defense in football last fall. In the winter, he became a two-time District 5 wrestling champion and a PIAA Class AA state tournament qualifier at 285 pounds, earning a seventh-place medal in Hershey. Then he finished the year as a District 5 champion and state track and field qualifier in the shot put.
As good as last year was for Hixson, what awaits him in the future could trump that. Barring injury, he should have another outstanding year in athletics, and then the scholarship offers for both football and wrestling figure to come pouring in.
Hixson has already drawn football interest from, among other schools, Syracuse and Temple, while Maryland has expressed interest in him as a wrestler.
"He's very good on his feet for a big fellow,'' NB coach Jeff Batzel said. "He has good balance, as evidenced by his success in wrestling, and he has displayed his quickness and explosiveness in throwing the shot put in track.''
Hixson thinks his size and agility are equal assets for him on the football field.
"If I wasn't mobile or fast, my size wouldn't help me,'' Hixson said. "But since I'm mobile, being big really helps me.''
So does his considerable experience. Starting on both sides of the ball as a freshman at any high school is a rare accomplishment.
"It has made me more comfortable with a variety of situations,'' Hixson said of his field time. "I just try my hardest at whatever I do, and all through the year, I never stop working out and lifting [weights].''
Hixson's work ethic, as well as his playing experience, have earned him the respect of his teammates, Batzel said.
"I think they respect him because of his ability and his experience,'' Batzel said. "He's started since he was a freshman, and while I feel that defensive tackle is his stronger of the two positions, he's very valuable on both sides of the ball.''
Last year's Northern team was 11-1, losing only to North Star in the District 5-A championship game.
"That just makes you want to work harder to get [back] there,'' Hixson said. "I fully think we can do what we did last year again, if we play together as a team.''