Leadership can be taught or learned, it can also be passed down from one generation to the next. For Beech senior Heath Crabtree, the case is no different.
Crabtree has grown up around the Beech football program for the last 13 years. The middle son to head coach Anthony Crabtree, No. 42 has seen what teams that have leadership and those that don't.
The conclusion he has come up with year after year is that the teams with leadership go much further in the season.
The team's middle linebacker on defense and fullback on offense, Crabtree led the team with 80 tackles as a junior and helped pave the way for two 1,000-yard backs a season ago.
"Part of it is natural leadership and another big part is people are always looking for someone to look up to," Crabtree said. "Leadership will give your team strength to get the job done in crunch time. Teams with leadership always come out on top."
A three-year starter for the Bucs, Crabtree has been with this team through the dog-days of summer workouts and the harsh winter workouts that followed a grueling 2016 season.
"You learn a lot about your guys in the offseason," he said. "You learn the ins and outs of guys, the strengths and weaknesses. You learn how to motivate them.
"I know what's going to motivate a guy on our team, whether that is yelling at them or just talking to them calmly. You really learn a lot about your guys; plus, those summer and winter workouts really bring you together as a team."
Crabtree is part of a near 30-man senior class and is ready for the last journey with the guys he has grown up with.
"If we didn't play together in middle school we grew up together, whether that is going to the same elementary, playing in the baseball park, whatever - we've all grown up together," he replied. "The Shackle Island community is a really strong community and it's great to be a part of."
The Bucs will open the 2017 season at Wilson Central on August 18, but there are a few key games circled on the calendar. They will travel to Hendersonville for their second MyTV30 Game of the Week in Week 4, and it's sure to bring out the best in the community.
"I'll say this about the rivalry, I've grown up around Beech football for the last 13 years and it's different as a fan and player," Crabtree added. "It is an intense rivalry that can sometimes get a little messy but at the end of the day we all have respect for one another on the field."
Expectations are high for this group of Buccaneers, but with senior leaders like Crabtree, you can count on this team to stay focused on the task at hand and to attack each day with great energy.
"We are not a team that stresses beating a certain goal but we are shooting all the way," Crabtree said. "Our goal is a state championship, that's what we are trying to get and we keep that in mind but at the same time we are just taking things day by day."