With a year of varsity football under his belt, Kevin Uehlein has become a cornerstone of the Tiger defense and a consistent contributor.
He was no slouch in 2012, when Uehlein was a second team all-district safety as a junior. As a senior, there is potential for more.
“This year, I feel a lot more confident in what I can do,” Uehlein said. “I’m also closer with this year’s group of teammates, mainly because I didn’t know all of the seniors that well last year compared to now that I have a lot more of my friends from my grade on the team who I’m more comfortable with.”
Through three games, Uehlein leads Glen Rose in tackles (27) while being tied for first in interceptions (1) and blocked kicks (1). He also has a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
“I feel like I’ve played up to the intensity I wanted to have so far this year,” Uehlein said. “I didn’t feel like I was very intense early last season because I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve been trying hard in practice and it’s paying off in the games.”
In the season opener at Carrollton Ranchview, Uehlein tallied 12 tackles, a tackle for loss and he blocked a field goal try.
“I thought their offense was pretty easy to read and I got a lot more playing time than I did against them last year,” he said. “I was ready this season for that game. It’s not very often you get the opportunity to block a kick.
“I didn’t think I’d get it at first, but I dove and it hit my hand. I looked back and the ball veered off to the left. It was pretty exciting.”
Uehlein also caught a 41-yard pass in that game. He is the go-to guy when the Tigers want to take deep shots.
“It’s a lot of responsibility to be the one the coaches count on for those plays and I like it,” he said. “On that one particular pass, I saw the ball in the air and it looked like a good pass. I just knew I was going to catch it.”
He also loomed large against Mineral Wells with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
“I thought I performed pretty well in that game,” Uehlein said. “I didn’t realize how many tackles I had because I thought the linebackers were making a lot of them. On my interception, I didn’t think it would count because it looked like the quarterback stepped over the line of scrimmage when he threw. I still decided to run it back and everyone started chasing me.
“It feels pretty crazy when you get an interception. It’s almost like it’s not really happening at first. You don’t realize what you’re doing until after the play is over, but it’s pretty cool.”
The senior noted a couple of crucial improvements he’s seen the defense make this season.
“I don’t think we communicate on defense as well as we did last year, but I think we’re getting better every week. That’s been one of our best improvements, plus everyone has gotten a lot better at tackling, too.”
Looking to get a winning streak going, Uehlein and the Tigers were predictably down upon receiving news of the Crandall game cancellation Friday afternoon.
“Everyone was pretty disappointed about the cancellation,” he said. “I was ready to play and we were about to load up on the bus when we were told. I guess this will be good for the players who are injured, because it gives them more time to recover. Especially the players who were going to play (hurt).”
The Tigers will be itching to host West Sept. 27 after what’s essentially the first of their two bye weeks.
“I think we’ll be prepared by the time West comes (here),” Uehlein said. “A lot of our first year varsity players haven’t played them, but it’s good that we’ll be fresh.”
Uehlein also competes in track and field. Beyond that, he just focuses on staying in good academic standing.
While Uehlein may have more than a few young fans in Glen Rose, the senior enjoys being a fan himself.
“I really like (running back) Adrian Peterson because he’s an amazing athlete,” Uehlein said. “He never quits. He tore his ACL (two seasons ago) and came back better than he was before. That inspires me.”
Uehlein’s inspired play in the Tiger secondary will undoubtedly factor into the winning equation for Glen Rose in the weeks to come.