For South Walton Seahawk Harrison Schaffer there is no bigger thrill than taking the man down.
And knocking the opponents on their backs is something the 5-foot-11, 160-pound junior linebacker does quite well.
"There's not another feeling in the world like it," says the 16-year-old who leads the Seahawks with 47 tackles and 15 solo takedowns. In addition to the tackles, Schaffer has forced a fumble as well as recovered one for the Seahawks.
Thoughts of "I'm gonna kill this kid and knock him on his butt" is what drives him when he lines up on defense.
South Walton Coach Phil Tisa has noticed his efforts on the playing field.
"Harrison is a hard-nosed football player. He is the leader of the defense and always gets around the ball," Tisa said.
Schaffer said his job as linebacker is to "keep the defense together, keep them focused, be physical and play downhill football … work down the line and go to them," he said.
Schaffer, the son of Butch and Lynn Schaffer, got his start in football about eight years ago playing for the Freeport peewee squad. He has always played linebacker along with the running back spot.
After five games, Schaffer has 33 carries for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Just last Friday night, he carried the ball seven times for 29 yards and one touchdown in the Seahawks 45-38 district victory over the Chipley Tigers.
The Seahawks started the season with two big victories over Franklin County and North Bay Haven, but then lost two to power houses Blountstown and Walton County High. However, the win over Chipley last Friday fired the team back up.
"It just brought us back. I cried like a baby after that. It showed our team how good we can be," Schaffer said.
Although Schaffer enjoys playing on both sides of the ball if he had to pick he would go defense. But playing defense can be tough mentally as well as physically.
"Defense is more emotional … it takes more out of you," he said, noting it's hard sometimes to get a "big stop when you need it."
Schaffer is also making his mark on offense.
"I love running the ball," he said. "And when there's not a hole, you've got to make something out of it."
Last Friday, he plunged through the middle for a 1-yard score up the middle against the Chipley Tigers for the first score of the evening.
"I just like being physical and winning games," Schaffer said. The Seahawks are now 3-2 on the season. "And I like being out there with my friends and being a team."
Although he's got another year yet to play for the Seahawks he said it would be nice to play after high school, possibly Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Ala.
For now, "I hope to go to the playoffs …."