Former Maple Heights high school football stars turn in cleats for clipboards

Former Maple Heights high school football stars turn in cleats for clipboards

MAPLE HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - The Maple Heights Mustangs football team may have the youngest coaching staff in the state.

The majority of the staff is in their early 20s, led by former school standout, Shaq Washington.

He was a quarterback at Maple Heights, but Washington switched his position to receiver in college.

The 25-year-old wrapped up his college career at the University of Cincinnati in 2015.

Washington finished as the all time leader in receptions with 238.

Returning to his hometown, he's now the head coach of his alma mater, taking over the reigns from Devlin Culliver.

Shaq had a storied career at Maple Heights, he was a two-time Plain Dealer Offensive player of the year and led his team to a championship his senior season.

Another major help on that 2010 championship squad was wide receiver Andre Stubbs; he's now coaching his old position alongside his former teammate.

"It's a blessing to come back where it all started at," said Washington, "We have a mix of younger guys that played at a high level, combined with some veteran coaches that were here when I was around."

That formula looks to be sound, as players are buying into the mission.

"Philosophy is important," said asisistant coach, Mike Hollins.

The John Carroll cornerback graduated with All-American honors in 2017, after attending Maple Heights he returned like many, to the city that raised him.

"It's good to come back to the guys," Hollins said, I'm just like them, young and energetic."

The energy is infectious, defensive backs coach Aaron Bubonics said, "I'm one of the older guys on the staff, and they're bringing me back to life."

Only time will tell how the new culture changes will effect the squad.

Maple will play their first game of the season against Rhodes on Friday, August 24, at 7 p.m.

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