Justin Weatherley burned one defense after another in his senior season for Tiger football, and the Lone Star State took notice.
The Tiger was recently named a Second Team Receiver on the AP 3A Football All-State Team, becoming the first all-state football player for Glen Rose since tackle Jason Geyer in 2011. He caught 71 passes for 1,469 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“Most of the time you expect the coaches to tell you, but Cody (Burtscher) had also gotten all-state (honorable mention) and so he told me one day in class,” Weatherley said. “I was real excited when he told me, but it’s not an individual sport so this is a team award. I had no idea this would happen (coming into my senior season).
“It’s something I’ve always wanted, but I didn’t think I would get it. I worked very hard, and hard work pays off.”
Making the all-state cut in this part of the country is a bit more difficult than what most football players across the nation are up against.
“It means more to do it in Texas I think, because football isn’t bigger anywhere else,” Weatherley said.
Weatherley was the clear-cut top option for Glen Rose quarterback Colton Bretton this season, and the pass catcher appreciates having that opportunity.
“If it wasn’t for Colton, I wouldn’t be able to do what I was able to do,” Weatherley said. “He put a lot of passes right on the money to where I didn’t even have to do anything. He’s a great quarterback and we worked a lot of throw and catch trying to make ourselves better – it really paid off. Colton impressed me so much this season.
“He really got going last season in the playoffs against Bridgeport and ever since then he’s been like a Div. I quarterback to me. I’m glad I got to play on the field with him.”
Along those same lines, Weatherley appreciates the faith Tiger coaches had in him.
“The (offensive) system in Glen Rose and all of the coaches are great,” the senior said. “They want you to be an all-state player and they give you everything you need – you just have to go out there and do it. Coach (Tommy) Dunn has helped me out a lot through the years, along with Coach (Erik) Hartman and my other coaches. They’re a big reason why Cody and I are all-state players.”
Weatherley remembers a time when he wasn’t the main man and believes past adversity helped set the stage for his banner campaign.
“It was a little rough starting out on varsity my sophomore year,” he said. “I was always getting yelled at for not knowing the plays, but I’m glad (Dunn) was yelling at me. When Coach Dunn is silent you know he’s real mad about it, but when he yells at you it makes you feel better. That might not make sense (to some people), but it does to me.”
Weatherley’s path to primetime production began in the first half of the season opener against Carrolton Ranchview when he rolled up 151 yards and three scores on just three catches.
“It felt good to have a first game like that,” he said. “You just want to go back out there and try to have every game turn out like that, so that’s what I tried to do.”
Of all his strong showings in 2012, Weatherley began by recalling his eight catches for 163 yards against Graham in the playoff loss.
“The Graham game stands out to me because we didn’t have Cody (due to injury),” he said. “They were going to key on me and Cody, but with him out their defense was definitely keying on me. That put me in triple coverage sometimes, but I still managed to have (163) yards. It’s good to know I could still make good plays in that situation.”
Against Crandall, Weatherley caught seven passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
“I enjoyed the Crandall game, too,” he said. “It was a good one for me.”
Statistically, Weatherley peaked against Venus when he piled up 221 yards and three touchdowns on six catches.
“My first 200-yard game came against Bridgeport last year in the playoffs, but my game against Venus was more special to me just because I liked my team this year so much – I’m glad I shared it with (these teammates),” he said. “Plus, against Venus that was the most yards I’ve ever had so it will always have a place in my heart.”
When asked about his favorite play, Weatherley pointed to the Stephenville game when his two-yard catch put Glen Rose up 6-0 against the eventual state champs.
“My favorite play I made this year was our first touchdown against Stephenville,” he said. “They’re a powerhouse school and no one thought we would keep up, but we went down there and I happened to be the one to score on that first drive. I had to get my feet in with real tight coverage, and scoring on that first drive made us feel like we could keep on scoring.”
Weatherley added that his favorite play made by 2012 Tiger football was a one-handed catch by Burtscher in that Stephenville game.
The 2012 Tigers are at least in the conversation as the best Glen Rose team ever, and Weatherley takes a lot of pride in that statement.
“It really means a lot to have been on this team,” he said. “I love Glen Rose and I hope they can beat what we did next year. But it was great to be a part of the success we had this year.”
Although his future isn’t mapped out just yet, it doesn’t sound like Weatherley has hauled in his last deep ball.
“I’m going to go play college ball somewhere,” he said. “I don’t know where yet, but it will happen.”