JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF
MARBLE FALLS — He might be the third Penner to don the Faith Academy black and red.
But Daniel Penner is eager to leave his own mark, with some help.
“I just put God first before everything,” he said. “That’s my approach to it. I’m here to be a leader and show them what a Christian leader is like and show them what good sportsmanship is.”
The senior running back said he’s aware of the whispers that say Faith’s best days are behind them. But he isn’t listening.
“We’re definitely going to have a great season, no matter what,” he said.
Winning 22 consecutive regular season games is not easy, Penner said. That success takes hard work and dedication.
He believes part of that accomplishment is because of the school itself.
“It’s a good environment,” Penner said. “Kids come from other schools, and they haven’t had a good experience, we help them out.”
In the spring, he plans to play baseball for the revitalized Flames baseball team.
The son of Rod and Debbie Penner wants to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, with brother Michael and former teammate Mitch Earwood.
When he’s not playing football, he can be found hunting or fishing. He has caught a 32-inch sea bass and shot an eight-point whitetail deer.
“It’s relaxing,” he said about the outdoor sports. “You should try it, it’s a thrill.”
People have said Penner does not look the part of a football player, and that doesn’t bother him.
“I completely agree with that,” he said. “I wasn’t very fast, I was small. Coach (Russ Roberts) always told me I was a hard hitter. I would believe it.”
During a junior varsity game, Penner laid out an opponent. While some Faith fans might have cringed, Roberts yelled his approval. That changed Penner’s mindset.
“He really does see the best in every player,” the player said.
Penner also is a receiver, so coaches move him to different spots, depending on the play. In addition, he volunteered to move to offensive line, which is invaluable to the Flames.
“I pretty much do whatever needs to be done,” he said.
Penner’s long arms means his wingspan gives senior quarterback Magnum Burcham a wide area to which to throw, Roberts said.
“He can create space,” he said.
Roberts commended Penner for his work ethic.
“He is working hard to learn two completely different positions,” he said. “He’s as good of an offensive lineman as we’ve had. If we have to have him there, he’ll play there and play well.”