KILLEEN, Texas — High school football in Central Texas means nights under the lights and stars in the making. Chaparral High School has one star of its own, running back Kenneth Johnson.
"I've always wanted to play varsity as a freshman," Kenneth Johnson, a Chaparral High School freshman running back, said. "It's something I knew that was possible I just had to put in the work and effort to get to that point."
He performs both on and off the field. A freshman star who has already worked his way up the ladder.
"He started the season on the freshman team and we realized he had an impact on the game and is just a natural runner," Alan Haire, Chaparral head football coach, said. "It was a couple games in and we moved him up to varsity to get him some snaps both offensively and defensively."
Unlike most of his teammates who head home for dinner after practice, this running back leaves the field, hits the stables and lets his horse Buster do the running.
"When I was leaving one afternoon, I saw him clicking around on the concrete over behind the stadium so I pulled over there and petted this horse, Buster," Haire said. "That's when I thought, okay this kid does this every day."
Johnson has been riding horses since he was four years old. Time with Buster has turned into a daily routine.
"I finish practice at the end of the day then I'll go to the stables, clean, and feed the horses. Sometimes I'll get a ride in. Most of the time I'll get a ride in."
It's not every day that you see a player go from using cleats at five, to boots and a saddle just an hour later.
"You never really see people riding horses around here after practice. It's really cool and just super fun," Johnson said. "It's a good hobby to have."
We may be in Central Texas, but a running back riding horseback still turns heads.
"It's a good feeling to know you can do good on the field and you can come back a few minutes later on a horse and ride around," Johnson said. "It's a pretty good feeling -- it's amazing."
Instead of Kenneth Johnson, he now goes by cowboy.
"He's a cowboy and he can handle it," Haire said. "He's natural on the horse just like he is on the football field."
Now that is Central Texas living at its finest.
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