By Thomas Sellers Jr.
But the incoming senior athlete is not worried about personal stats. His priorities are Rebel victories, inspiring future TRA football players and making those who invested in him proud.
His first three seasons, Fullen has been a starter racking up several TRA records including all-time rushing yards, 1,000-yard seasons and touchdowns. Another achievement of Fullen entering 2019 has been his maturity.
“It’s been good and football has been good to me,” he said. “I love playing the game. To start all four years, it’s been an experience I’ve just loved every single bit of the way.
“Coming up on my last year, emotions are running high,” Fullen acknowledged. “Nerves are starting to get there. Really not ready for it to be over. Football has helped me mature. This field has watched me grow up. A lot of sweat, blood and tears. This field has seen it all.”
Nearby Rebel Stadium is the practice field Fullen sharpening his skills. Then on Friday nights he carved up the turf and the opposition rewriting the Rebel record book.
“It makes me feel accomplished like I’ve left a mark on the school,” he said. “I have little brothers who are coming up. It’s like me setting a goal for them to come out and beat my records. And even pass them for the kids who will come up after them.”
Payne Fullen is entering his sophomore season at TRA and plays quarterback and outside linebacker. The youngest Fullen brother is Nix, a sixth grader beginning his first year of tackle football.
It was there Fullen started to pay closer attention to the Rebel Football tradition. Players like Logan Stewart, AJ Hightower, Carter Weakley, Jose Flores and more inspired him.
“Ever since I’ve stepped into middle school and high school, I’ve tried to watch every class above me,” he recalled. “I’ve tried to build a great relationship with them. It’s not one specific person. It’s a vast amount I’ve looked up to and respect.”
Mac learned that respect at home from his parents Stacy and Parker. The duo has been there to keep their son encouraged during tough times like playoff defeats.
“My mom has been with a lot with a shoulder to cry on,” he said. “Dad has been right there giving him comfort.
“We’ve been to the playoffs every year since I’ve been in high school,” Mac continued. “We’ve never won a playoff game since I’ve been around. To take it another step, I think that would be awesome. And then take it another step after that. We’re going to play as hard as we can. And give all we’ve got.”
Fullen has given his all for three years and is ready to do it one more time in the Rebel red, white and blue. And when he hangs up the No. 16, Fullen hopes those who saw him play say he was more than an all-time leading rusher.
“I hope they say, ‘He was an athlete,’” he concluded. “‘He showed a lot of respect. He gave it his all on the football when he had to. And he gave all he could for his football team.’”