• 54°

Luke Taylor signs to Huntingdon

Fort Dale’s Luke Taylor is trading his Eagle wings for Hawk talons as the senior inked a scholarship to play football for the Huntingdon Hawks Wednesday.

For Taylor, several factors contributed to his decision to sign with Huntingdon, such the presence of several Fort Dale alumni (including his older brother, Chip Taylor).

But perhaps even more than that, Taylor said that Huntingdon’s sense of familiarity might have outweighed all of his other considerations.

“With my brother being there for the last four years, it just means that I’ve been up there at every game for the last four years,” Taylor said.

“It just felt like a second home. It’s not too big, and it’s not too small; it’s like another Fort Dale. I felt very welcomed, liked and wanted there.”

None of that is to say that his elder brother wasn’t a driving force.  The opportunity to continue following in Chip’s footsteps after leaving the hallowed halls of Fort Dale Academy was too good to pass up.

“He taught me pretty much everything I know about being a quarterback,” Taylor said.

“He said that if I came up there, he could help me out this summer with learning the playbook and the signals to get me ahead of all the other freshmen, and I knew that would be a big step for me and it would help me out a lot, and that helped me narrow down the decision.”

Getting recruited to play his favorite position (quarterback) at his favorite college of choice is an exciting enough prospect for Taylor. But for the senior, whose final season of high school football was cut tragically short at home in the first round, the thought of new, tougher competition is perhaps the most exciting thought of all.

“It hurt bad back during the fall when we got put out and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play for Fort Dale anymore,” Taylor said.

“And I love it here, but I’m excited about the scoreboard being turned back on, and I’m just looking forward to all of the memories I’ll be making in the next four years.”

Going to a new home will inevitably mean leaving his old one behind.

Dozens of fellow teammates joined Taylor in Fort Dale’s library Wednesday to congratulate him.  In a way, it was Tayor’s final time to play the role of team captain, well after football season had come to an end.

“It felt pretty weird sitting back here and seeing all of them, but at the same time it felt pretty good because you can’t help be smile looking at them and knowing that they’ve been my brothers for the pasts 10 years on the football field and in the classroom,” Taylor said.

“And it felt really nice seeing the little ones here because it makes them look at me and say ‘hey, maybe I want to do that one day. Maybe I want to extend my career after Fort Dale. Maybe I want to work harder in weight rooms, in practice and in games to get recruited and go off to play somewhere else besides Fort Dale.’”

For Taylor, leaving his teammates behind would prove tough.  But leaving Fort Dale as a whole is almost too much to comprehend.

“I’ve been here since K3, all the way through senior year,” he said. “It’s been home, no doubt, and I’ve loved every year here. It already feels weird as it sinks in that time is wrapping up. Next fall, I won’t be dealing with Coach Speed; I’ll be dealing with Coach Turk. 

“It’s weird, but at the same time I know that Fort Dale has got me prepared to go out into the real world.  I’m looking forward to it, but at the same time I’m going to miss it.  I’m going to miss Fort Dale a lot.”