The Dunham School’s Chase Day always had maroon running through his veins.
Both of his parents went to the Louisiana-Monroe and when he was in middle school, then-Warhawks baseball coach Jeff Schexnaider predicted Day would one day wear a maroon and gold jersey.
Four years of high school later and Day fulfilled that prophecy by committing to UL-Monroe in late August for not only baseball but his primary sport of football as well.
“Unfortunately, (Schexnaider) won’t be there anymore, but I will be in maroon,” Day said. “It felt like all the hard work finally paid off.”
But before the multi-sport athlete packs up for north Louisiana, he’ll have to finish out his senior year at Dunham, which is no cakewalk in itself as Day deals with the feeling of what he describes as the weight of the program on his shoulders.
Coming into the season, the Tigers had a new coach, barely enough players to fill the roster and to top it all off, Day said he felt like everyone was looking to him to be the big man on campus when all he wanted to do was play the sport he loved.
“It feels good, but sometimes I put too much pressure on myself to live up to all the talk around school and campus and stuff like that,” Day said. “When I have a bad game, I don’t take that lightly — I take it personally.”
Dunham coach Neil Weiner’s expectations are no different heading into the Tigers’ Week 8 open date. Weiner described Day as the type of player the Tigers need to have the ball in his hands as much as possible, which is why Weiner moved the former wide receiver to running back where he would receive more touches.
Defensively, Weiner also made the decision a few weeks ago to move Day from the linebacker position — where ULM recruited him — to free safety position in order to get different players on the field at the same time.
Day said he’s adjusting to the safety role but added he likes playing tailback because it allows him to show off his physicality — an attribute Weiner said is becoming infectious to the program.
“We were expecting (Day) to kind of be the workhorse on offense, and he’s certainly lived up to that billing,” Weiner said. “He’s just kind of an old school player, and that’s huge for our team to have that kind of toughness and have a player that really enjoys contact because that spreads around a team.”
But Day doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as simply a power back. He wants defenders to know he’s going to beat them with his feet as well.
“I’m a power back, but once I get into the open field, I don’t feel like anybody is going to catch me,” Day said. “I trust my speed. I don’t think anybody can catch me from behind, and nobody really has.”
Before last week’s game against Episcopal where Day had to fill in under center when Dunham’s quarterback Jyron Walker went down with an injury, Day amassed 497 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 97 carries and another 290 yards and a pair of scores on 22 receptions.
Weiner also praised Day as the hero of Friday’s game after not only rushing and passing for a touchdown but making the game-saving tackle with a few minutes left to play.
Day said he isn’t setting any specific performance goals for himself this season, except to play every game like an all-state player.
That isn’t too lofty a goal for a player who’s already earned all-district at free safety as a freshman and at linebacker his sophomore and junior seasons.
And with the season he’s having thus far, Day is confident he can make it an even four all-district honors.
“This year, I don’t even know where they’re going to give it to me since I haven’t played a just one position,” Day said.