Most of us have watched him grow up, and very little surprises us about his athleticism anymore. From the time Matthew Maennle started following his dad, Frank, to school on workdays most of us have known what an athlete he is and what great athletic things he was capable of doing. In a strange sort of way that is a shame, because it makes things like he did Saturday almost mundain. It almost went un-noticed, especially by the Swain faithful, but the performance Maennle put on Saturday will have to go down as one of the greatest in school history, certainly one of the most versitile.
Maennle scored every way imaginable. He caught 2 touchdown passes from Raymius Smith. Then in the Devils new inverted wishbone offensive set, Maennle is asked to play running back, to which he responded with 44 yards on 2 carries and another touchdown. And for good measure he returned the 2nd half kickoff 89 yards for a fourth touchdown.
It was on his kickoff return that he reminded us of just how good an athlete he really is. A Pikeville defender had the correct angle on him, and flew to push him out of bounds and save the touchdown for the Panthers. What happened next defies explanation, and however I describe it will not do it justice. Maennle was hit, and in mid-air he managed to plant his right foot on the 3-yard line to keep from going out of bounds, and in the same single motion he dove for the pileon managing to land just in side of it for the touchdown. A truely remarkable play, that had it happened at home, in a close game, would have been the stuff of legend.
Along the way Maennle has just as easily dazzled us with his steady play. The type of play that leaves you in elete company when your career is over. Saturday with no fanfare or acknowledgment his 159 yards receiving moved him into 1st place All-Time in receiving yards at Swain. With 7 catches he will tie Benjie Shuler for most receptions All-Time, and with his 8th he will be all alone as the top receiver in school history. He is already holder of every punt return record in school history.
But in true Maroon Devil fashion none of that matters to Maennle, oh, some day I am sure he will stop and savor what he has done, but at this point all that matters is the pursuit of another state championship.