Branden Ballard is proving to be wise beyond his years and a huge asset to the Columbia High football team.

“Among the coaches, Branden is known as our offensive line coach on the field,” Columbia Coach Brent Mascheck told Empower Texans of his junior star center. “He’s very intelligent and a great leader. A lot of kids and linemen look up to him for the way he competes and conducts himself.”

A varsity starter since his sophomore season, Ballard said he tries to lead by example, especially when times are tough for the Roughnecks (3-2, 0-1 District 13 AAAA) like they were at the start of the season when their two losses were by a cumulative score of 45-10.

“We were faced with some ups and downs just because our district is so competitive and we always have people doubting us,” Ballard said. “When you look at the rankings and just what people are always saying about our team, it just always seems to be that way.”

At just 5-foot-10, 205 pounds, Mascheck said Ballard standing as the anchor of the Columbia offensive line speaks to what someone can accomplish when they have the right attitude and put their mind to conquering the task at hand.

“Branden is as competitive as anyone you’ll find anywhere you go,” said Mascheck, who took over at Columbia in April 2016 after four seasons at Tidehaven. “I tell people athletic ability will only take you so far. “It’s the work he puts in, his level of tenacity and his understanding of the game that make the difference for him in terms of being the best.”

Columbia plays three of their final five games at home at Griggs Field.