When Hayden Meyer looks for inspiration, he doesn't have to go far.
"My dad's story has always been inspiring to me," said Hayden, a junior at Granbury High School and the starting quarterback for the Pirates football team this season. "My dad's my role model."
Greg Meyer was a linebacker and was named All-Canada four years in high school before coming to America to play for the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes from 1991-95.
"He's an example of where the sport can take you," Hayden said. "I believe in God. I'm a Christian. You've got to take those chances and believe he's got your back."
Which was proven when Greg also survived cancer in his neck, also while at Tulsa.
"Tulsa stuck with him. He got through that and that was really inspiring to me," Hayden said.
Now, it is Hayden's turn to inspire as he tries to lead the Pirates to success on the football field. And he's doing so in a brand-new offense under first-year/interim head coach Sonny Galindo, a triple option.
"It was a little weird and caught me off guard at first, but I trust the coaches, and now that I've settled into it, I like it," Hayden said. "It's fun. I like how the defense can come to me and I can pitch it (the football), or I have other options."
Hence, the name of the offense, three options, in fact. Based on the style made legendary by coaches such as Darrell Royal at Texas, Bear Bryant at Alabama, and Barry Switzer at Oklahoma - all of who won college national championships with it - the triple option offense allows the quarterback three choices on each play. He can keep the ball and run, pitch out to a running back alongside him, or throw downfield.
"I like the selflessness of it," Hayden said.
Being 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Hayden has the build to be a good runner - and he is.
"I like keeping the ball, but I also have two good running backs to pitch to, and I know they can always get good yardage," he said.
Tyler Rodgers, Jadon Rogers, and Hayden have been the mainstays in a rushing attack that was averaging over 250 yards per game at press time.
The season began well enough, with a 3-0 start. Then, they stumbled in an upset at Cleburne and dropped a ---- home contest to Killeen. Next, after having an off week, the Pirates return to play Oct. 6 at Midlothian.
Hayden was named the starting quarterback for the final game of the 2022 season. Though the Pirates lost to Killeen Shoemaker, who went on to the playoffs, he made his presence known by going 17-of-28 passing for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
"I think that last game helped me a lot. I was nervous going into it and going into this season I was not nervous," Hayden said. "Habits I developed that week have helped me this season."
Galindo believes Hayden's ability to adapt from the spread offense that allowed him to throw more passes in a single game than he did in this season's first four games is proof of the leader he is.
"He was looking forward to playing in the spread and showing off his arm, but he's a natural fit (in the option)," Galindo said. "Everything came together for a reason.
"He really is calm. When he feels like he needs to speak up, he will. He'll pat you on the back and encourage and when words are needed, that's who he turns into.
"He's a junior, but he has the ears of the seniors."
LEARNING FROM HISTORY
To better understand their new offense, Hayden and his teammates watched film and studied how it was implemented by successful college programs.
"We looked at a lot of Air Force film," he said. "And I remember watching Navy and Notre Dame (earlier this season). Navy runs it.
"When you run it right it can be a very successful offense."
It is also an offense in which the quarterback can get hit more often by a defender, which is no problem for Hayden. He played defensive end through his freshman year.
"I like hitting somebody sometimes," he said with a chuckle.
"I wanna play in college. Whatever presents itself I'm open to," Hayden said.
He added that he is contemplating studying business, but not sure what type. His father is in real estate, buying and selling apartments.
"I want to be an entrepreneur," Hayden said.
He also sees himself as a natural leader, always a great quality in sports and business.
"It's how my parents raised me. It's a confidence factor," he said.
"Other players, all the way down to middle school and peewee, would be wise to follow his example," Galindo said. "If I were going to build a leader from scratch, he'd be the model."