Westman Wolverines cornerback Cody Hunter loves lining up across from an opposing team’s top receiver.
“In a one-on-one situation, I enjoy the challenge and I like the competitiveness and respect we have against the receivers in those situations,” he said. “It makes me want to rise to the challenge, as opposed to shy away from it.”
The son of Kenton’s Mel Hunter and Birtle’s Brenda Hunter is in his fourth season with the Brandon-based Wolverines, who compete in the Manitoba Major Junior Football League. After being a high school quarterback, he has flourished as a defender for the Wolverines. Elkhorn’s Karson Turpie competed against Hunter in high school and now lines up with him on the Westman defence.
“It's great playing next him, because you know that he's got his guy or zone dealt with and you can just focus on your job,” said Turpie, who plays multiple defensive positions.
Opposing coaches are wary of throwing the ball Hunter’s way.
He's really fast. He presses most of the receivers he faces, but even if they get around him he's quick to catch up,” Turpie said. “He hasn't seen a lot of action this year so far, but I'm pretty sure it's because coaches recognize him from years past and know he's got his side locked down. I've seen him catch some crazy interceptions so I wouldn't throw his way either.
Leadership and experience
The Wolverines rely on Hunter, who is a captain, to provide leadership and experience. This season he has even played a couple games as defensive halfback.
“Playing defensive back is definitely a challenge as you are on a read and react basis because although you have a play call, you have to react to the route of the opposition,” Hunter said. “It is a position that I enjoy because if you make a mistake it is up to you to fix it and to get off the field you need to shut down the opposing team’s offence.”
Hunter, who works at Cargill in Nesbitt, enjoys the mental aspects of the game.
“You have to think as if you are the receiver to be in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Our coaches do a great job of sharing the knowledge they have of the opposition’s offence from watching film, which enhances our ability to play to our full potential.”
Hunter also impacts the game on specials teams. On the punt team he is often the gunner – running down at full speed to be the first guy to try to make the tackle. Hunter also plays a contain role on kickoff and is on punt return to try to block the punt or create room for the Wolverines return man.
“I play special teams and I enjoy it,” he said. “Since I was a QB in high school, I never got a chance to do that.”
Throughout his football career, Hunter has received a lot of support from his family, which includes his brother Shaun, a former Wolverines teammate.
“My family has endless support for my football crave,” he said. “They are always watching or asking about how it was, how’d I play, and of course giving me a hard time on why I didn’t play better. I believe they know it is important to me and want to push me to play as long as I can and as much as I can during that time.”