Donte Embry: Finishing Strong
Linebacker reflects on game, career
Nine questions for the personable senior
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- For senior inside linebacker Richard Embry, who plays his final college football game in a Southwestern Assemblies of God University uniform today, the game is about finishing strong. Something that describes his career in purple and gold.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder personifies what coaches look for in a leader. He also well represents the spiritual values of SAGU.
As he prepared for today’s 2:00pm clash in Tyler against Texas College, the former standout at Paris High School (Paris, Texas) collected his thoughts. Paris, located 98 miles northeast of Dallas, is known as the "second largest Paris in the world."
The city of 25,000 built a replica of the Eiffel Tower. Then, when Paris, Tennessee did likewise, they added their own touch to the icon. The town on the Red River added a red cowboy hat atop of the tower. Touche!
Like his hometown, Embry has made a distinctive impression in the college town of Waxahachie.
Instead of reflecting on the disappointments of a season that could have finished much better, the team’s leading tackler relished in pressing on to meet new challenges. Known by his middle name, Donte, he’s a grateful man.
Q1: Going into your final game in a SAGU uniform, are you more excited to strap it on and get going, or more nostalgic, knowing your college football career is ending?
Donte: Unlike some, I'm more excited because it's been a blessing to have played college ball. I can say that I made it. And I finished strong.
Q2: After the best start in school history in September, how has the 5-game losing streak, especially some of the heartbreaking defeats, affected your focus?
Donte: You can't let loses like that get to you. If you do, then your focus on the next challenge, the next game, is hindered. Yes, the losses hurt. But, hey, it comes with the sport. It comes with the game. It’s what makes it a great game. Risks and rewards.
Q3: What can you learn from these experiences?
Donte: I have learned that winning isn't everything. Its how you play and how you finish.
Q4: Complete the sentence: “With just a few breaks, this season could have...”
Donte: … been the best season that SAGU has ever had. Period.
Q5: This team worked very hard and was expecting a winning season. When the desired results didn't come, how did players respond?
Donte: You know, we all take it in. It’s painful. But we gear up for the next week. We move forward.
Q6: What is your message to returning players and to incoming recruits?
Donte: Don't settle for just being on a college football team. Rather, treat it as your DI (NCAA Division I) opportunity. Work your tail off to out-play others!
Q7: What was your favorite moment this season?
Donte: When we overcame Howard Payne University. We had the game, then lost the lead late, and finished strong, taking home the victory.
Q8: How do you see the game Saturday at Texas College?
Donte: Right now, after two weeks off, it depends on our mindset. If we come out and play like we should, then count another victory for the SAGU Lions.
Bonus Q: What is your major and what do you want to do after college?
Donte: My major is sports management. After football I may want to try professional wrestling. If it doesn't work out, then I'm going to go straight into coaching. Maybe someday I’ll open a recreational gym for young people, to teach them to finish strong.