Maurice Peterson punches the clock from sunup to sundown.
Peterson puts in a full day’s work assisting disabled ones before dawn at his graveyard-shift job. Afterward he arrives at Texas College, where he majors, ironically, in social work.
Following class, Peterson parades to the north end of campus for football practice, which includes watching film and lifting weights.
“That comes from my mother,” Peterson said of his work ethic. “She raised four of us, all boys. I feel I’m where I’m at because of her believing in me. I’m just here to work.”
Peterson (5-11, 200, Sr.) approaches the game of football like a job. Peterson plays not only the middle linebacker position on a full-time basis, but also in the defensive backfield on a part-time basis. Alex Poole (6-0, 190, Sr., Gainesville, Fla.), who hails from Peterson’s home state, also roves from linebacker to the secondary.
“They need us at linebacker so we’re playing it,” Peterson said. “It’s new but it’s fun.”
A native of Miami Gardens, a suburb of Miami, Peterson ranked as one Florida’s best high school prospects coming out of Carol City Senior High School. He made the Florida sportswriter’s Class 6A all-state second-team after a standout season playing linebacker in 2003.
The dominant ways returned for Peterson in TC’s first of two games against Division I programs when he totaled 14 tackles against Lamar, including three behind the line of scrimmage.
Peterson posted 12 tackles (nine solo) and an interception in last week’s gutsy performance on the road against defending SWAC champion Texas Southern. He showed his versatility when he dropped back to pick off a pass. Peterson tops the Steers with 34 stops on the season after moving from the secondary last year.
The Steers showed spunk on the defensive side the last two games, holding TSU to seven points in the first quarter a week after keeping Division II Arkansas-Monticello without an offensive touchdown for 27 minutes.
“Our defense is strong. We just have to keep fighting,” said Peterson, in his second year at Texas College after a short stint with Missouri Valley. “We need every piece of the puzzle. We’re hoping to shake up the conference. Everybody’s trying to win.”
The start of conference play evens the playing field somewhat for the Steers, who ended a 20-game losing streak the last time they lined up against an opponent from the Central States Football League in last year’s finale against Southwestern Assemblies of God.
TC (0-4) makes its home debut at 2 p.m. Saturday against CSFL heavyweight Northwestern Oklahoma State (0-3), which has finished atop the league standings eight of the 11 seasons it has existed.
“We’re here to fight,” Peterson said. “Each day we try to get better. There were a lot of pieces of the puzzle that weren’t there (earlier). We feel we have them now. We just have to put them together.”
STEER SCOOP: TC leads the CSFL in total sacks with 11. Luther Sanders (5-10, 260, Sr., Fort Worth) paces the Steers with four sacks, followed by Henry Tapps (6-2, 210, So., New Jersey) with three. … The TC volleyball team opens league play in the Red River Athletic Conference with home matches today against Our Lady of the Lake (7 p.m.) and Saturday versus top-ranked UT Brownsville (1 p.m.). The Lady Steers (2-9) dropped two matches last Saturday to the University of Dallas (25-13, 29-27, 25-16) and Mid-America (Okla.) Christian (25-15, 25-4, 26-24).