DARKE COUNTY – A pair of athletes whose great individual performances helped lead their teams to strong results are this week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week.
This week’s Daily Advocate athletes of the week are Arcanum girls golfer Haleigh Shaffer and Bradford football player Mason Justice.
Shaffer was the medalist at the Cross County Conference girls golf meet. She shot a 94 for the 18-hole round at Stillwater Valley Golf Club to win the tournament by four strokes.
The Arcanum senior helped lead the Lady Trojans to a runner up finish in the CCC meet. Arcanum finished second behind Miami East with a round of 425.
Shaffer is one of the top five girls golfers in Darke County as she averages 50.9 strokes per nine holes this season.
“She’s played pretty quality golf all year long,” Arcanum girls golf coach Andrew Bryant said. “The most exciting thing about Haleigh is she’s always got an upbeat attitude. I think the last two or three or four holes she comes in strong every time for us, and that’s how she gets a big score. I really appreciate her. She’s being a great leader. I’m fired up for her for her senior year being able to win.”
Justice helped lead the Bradford football team to its first win since Oct. 26, 2012, in a 34-18 win against Hillcrest Academy. The junior led the Railroaders with 133 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the victory.
Justice has the ability to make plays out of nothing, Hyatt said.
“He has really, really good vision and the ability to change direction,” Hyatt said.
Justice also is a difference maker as a linebacker on defense. The Railroaders fell behind 12-0 early against Hillcrest. Bradford didn’t play Justice on defense early to preserve him for offense but had him go both ways after falling behind. After Justice went in, he and the Railroaders held the Rams scoreless for the next three-and-a-half quarters.
“He’s been great,” Hyatt said. “Mason always plays extremely hard. He gives great effort every play.”
Whenever Hyatt calls for a huddle during practice or during a game, Justice is always the first kid in front of him, the coach said. The junior never has to be motivated, Hyatt said, because he’s always ready to go.
“He’s a real high energy kid,” Hyatt said. “He’s a lot of fun to be around.”