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He'd rather play

A bead of sweat trickles down his cheek.  Mud smears his jersey.  Adrenaline rushes through his veins.  Huge lights beam down as beacons in this dark, open Kentucky field.  He hears the sound of cleats digging into muddy grass as his team shifts into position.

"THREE-NINE! THREE-NINE! HUT!" Hunter Comer yells loudly from deep in his throat.  The leather ball hits his hand, and the sound of boys turning to men, colliding into each other, echoes through the half-empty stadium.  This is Friday night.  This is what he lives for.

"As quarterback, I do half the work with all of the glory, but I don't like losing," Hunter says. "If I lose, we're doing it again until I win."  He says he hates practice, doing something he knows how to do over and over.

Hunter is the starting quarterback and a captain for the Henderson County High School varsity football team. He has played football since the third grade and says he is used to having to balance school and practice.  However, once he got his driver's license, his balancing act included delivering for Firedome Pizza three nights a week.

Walking down the main hall of school, a voice behind him yells out, "Oh look! It's Hunter, the most popular kid in school!"  That voice belongs to Henry Fowler, a sophomore linebacker on Hunter's team.

Hunter laughed and said, "They are clowns.  The whole team is like a big group of brothers  – family really — and my linemen are like my personal bodyguards."

"Hunter is the all-American quarterback," says James Wilson, a longtime Comer family friend. "He's just a great kid."

"I grew up hearing about my dad as quarterback, and I wanted to be just like him.  Some of this really is for him."

Hunter hopes to get a college scholarship to play football.

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Quarterback Hunter Comer, 18, a senior at Henderson County High School, says, "We like to trashtalk our nose guard Tray for being so big." Tray Pulliam, also a student at Henderson County High School, can squat 600 pounds, according to Hunter.

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Hunter Comer, 18, a senior at Henderson County High School, throws a ball to a teammate while practicing a play. "I hate practice," he says. "I hate failing with a passion, but I also hate doing something I am good at over and over and over again."

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Hunter Comer, 18, quarterback for the Henderson County High School Colonels football team, sinks into an ice bath. "You know those cartoon cats who appear to leap out right as they hit the water?" he says. "That's exactly how you feel. It takes your breath away. It's truly terrible." Ice baths hasten the healing process for sore muscles. Hunter practiced at 6 a.m. and took the ice bath after school outside the locker room at the Colonels' stadium.

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Hunter Colmer, 18, delivers pizza for Firedome Pizza on U.S. 41-North. "Work is easy — three nights a week, getting paid $7.25 an hour to drive around town and hang out in this little room," Hunter says.

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Alec Peters (right), Hunter Comer and Marshall Garret pump up their friend, Hank Daughtry, dressed as the Henderson County High School mascot the Colonel, before he runs across the court during the Homecoming Pep Rally.

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Hunter Comer practices what his coach preaches before the Henderson County High School Colonels' homecoming game. "This team and Coach Clevenger are all about focus, focus, focus," Hunter says. "It's what gets the job done."

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Quarterback Hunter Comer leads his the team to a 27-0 lead with 3:47 left in the first quarter of the 2012 homecoming game.

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Hunter Comer, No. 2, quarterback and captain of the Henderson County High School varsity football team, celebrates a touchdown with teammates Richard Carter (left), Cole Roberts, and Lane McHatton during in the second quarter of the 2012 homecomng game.

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Hunter Comer, quarterback of the Henderson County High School's varsity football team, was all smiles at halftime of the homecoming game with a 42-0 lead.