ROGERS — All Joshua Minor wanted was to play football for the Holland Hornets. As a ball boy in middle school, he yearned for the day he would don the purple and white and step onto Hornet Field.
And with his two oldest brothers living out his dream, Minor was eager to continue the legacy.
Then his family moved 15 miles east to Rogers, forcing the then-eighth grader to abandon his passion for the Hornets and find a new goal.
The transition was not an easy one.
“It was a hard adjustment,” Minor said. “I didn’t want to move, but it was something that we had to do. All I wanted was to play for Holland, so the move was hard.”
Minor’s sense of disconnect with his new home led him to abandon football altogether. Three games into his eighth grade season, he decided to hang up his cleats.
His three older brothers would have none of that.
“After my brothers started asking me about it, I realized that I didn’t have a valid reason. I came back my freshman year and had to prove to the coaches that I was committed,” Minor said. “I’m very glad I stayed with football.”
Fast forward four years, and Minor has become Rogers’ do-it-all senior starter on both sides of the ball. The 5-foot-8, 160-pound ball magnet has scored in a variety of ways for the Eagles (2-0), recording two interception returns for touchdowns, a kickoff return for a score, a punt return for another and three rushing TDs through just two games.
His success has Rogers looking for a 3-0 start when it hosts McGregor at 7:30 tonight at Merk Field.
“He’s been blessed with a lot of God-given ability,” third-year Rogers head coach Charlie Roten said. “At the same time, he works really hard and has a knack for knowing where the ball is going to be. Some guys have it, not a lot do.
“We rely on him heavily. We use him offensively, but we don’t want to overwork him. Once the weather cools down and we get into district, we’ll let him go almost every snap.”
If Minor continues to produce at the level he has so far this year, don’t expect Roten to give him many plays off.
In Rogers’ season opener against Academy, Minor intercepted a pass and returned it 94 yards to shift the momentum in the Eagles’ favor. He later returned a kickoff 98 yards for an immediate answer after the Bees scored. In the fourth quarter, his 22-yard TD run smothered Academy’s hopes for a comeback and gave the Eagles their second straight win over their longtime rivals.
Minor went back to work last week against Bruceville-Eddy. He picked off a pass and went 51 yards to the end zone and followed that with a 60-yard punt return for a score. He added a 15-yard rushing TD before halftime and found pay dirt again with a 3-yard run in the second half.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself right now,” Minor said. “A pick-six is probably my favorite way to score. It gives the team such a boost.”
Minor’s success didn’t happen overnight. He spends hours watching film on opponents in order to gain any advantage, and he often describes himself as a student of the game.
He expects the same of his teammates.
“I watch a lot of film. I try to remember what I’ve seen so that I have a better understanding of what other teams are going to do,” Minor said. “I text clips to my teammates so that they can watch, too.”
Roten believes that when it comes to football IQ, few can match Minor.
“He’s just a really good football player,” Roten said. “He’s been playing for a long time and he knows what we like to do and really excels in our game plan. We could probably put him at quarterback and he would know what to do.”