Senior Sam Brixey nearly quit football three years ago.
Entering his sophomore year, Capital’s 6-foot-4 wide receiver considered focusing on basketball and a budding track career. But a group effort convinced him to stick with football, an effort that has paid hefty dividends for the Eagles.
Brixey set the school’s single-season record for receiving yards with 1,126 this fall, and he’ll look to pad his achievement as Capital (6-4) travels to No. 1 Mountain View (9-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in the 5A state quarterfinals.
“My coaches, my family, my friends all persuaded me to play football, and I’m glad I did,” Brixey said. “It would have been stupid not to.”
Few could blame Brixey if he focused on track. The state’s reigning 5A 110- and 300-meter hurdles champion broke onto the national scene this summer, earning an invite to the USA Track & Field World Youth Trials outside of Chicago. He finished sixth in the 110 hurdles at 14.12 seconds. The top two advanced to the IAAF World Youth Championships in Colombia.
“It just humbles you,” Brixey said of the experience. “You come back here after traveling the nation, and you kind of see the bigger picture of things and realize there is still a lot of potential for you.”
That potential has drawn track scholarship offers from Boise State, Iowa and Washington State, he said. Brixey added he plans to make a decision and sign a letter of intent during the early signing period, which begins Wednesday.
Even with a college future at stake, Brixey sticks with football because it provides a different experience and allows him to escape track for a couple months.
“I feel like I get a lot of team bonding,” he said. “Obviously with track, you don’t get a lot of that because it’s more of an individual sport. But when you’re with football, it’s more about the family and the journey.”
He’s been a lethal weapon for the Capital offense all season, where his 56 catches rank 12 short of the school record and his 10 touchdowns are five short of another record.
20.1 Yards per reception Brixey is averaging this season
Eagles coach Todd Simis said he and his staff dream up new ways to get the ball in his hands each week to counteract how defenses try to take him away.
“We’ve tried to hand him the ball on the move. We try to throw him quick screens,” Simis said. “We, obviously, a few times a game, try to get him to run by people. Sometimes we still can’t believe he gets behind people because it’s like, ‘How are you going to let him get behind you when you’ve seen it over and over?’ ”
So far, only one team has slowed the speedster — Mountain View. Brixey broke the 100-yard mark in seven of 10 games and added a two-catch, 98-yard game against Rocky Mountain and a seven-catch, 68-yard game versus Timberline.
The Mavericks contained Brixey to three catches for 43 yards in their 47-25 victory on Sept. 11, Mountain View’s smallest margin of victory this season.
Brixey relishes the chance for a rematch.
“Our mindset for it is, it’s David and Goliath,” he said. “No one believes in us but us. We know we have it. We were the closest game for them this season, which is surprising because it wasn’t that close of a game.
“We know coming into it what we have to do to win — we have to play a perfect game.”
All alone on top
Capital senior Sam Brixey broke the school’s single-season receiving yards record by three yards in the regular season finale against Rocky Mountain. He added to it with 118 yards against Skyline in the first round of the playoffs.