Plezia ‘never takes a play off’

by Donna Lampkin Stephens

Mayflower’s Tyler Plezia is like the racecar motors he hopes to one day build: always going.

Plezia, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound senior defensive lineman for the Eagles, is one of the 17 players named to the first 501 Football Team. Their coaches nominated players for the team based on their play and their contributions off the field.

Tyler Plezia. (Mike Kemp photos)

MHS coach Jed Davis called Plezia a “very aggressive player.”

“He never quits, and his motor is always going,” Davis said. “He never takes a play off.”

Plezia came to Mayflower from Cabot in sixth grade. He’s played anywhere along the defensive line, and he’s also spent time on the offensive side of the ball. A two-way starter and a team leader in sacks and tackles for loss last year, he earned all-conference honors as a junior.

He’s an outdoors kind of guy — hunting, mudding and bonfires are among his hobbies, and he said whenever his football is over, he hopes to build racecar motors.

“I love me some racing,” he said. “I don’t miss a Sunday.”

If a football scholarship presents itself, he said he would take it. If not, he’ll pursue automotive engineering. He said that would require a machinist’s certificate as well as a welding certificate. Pulaski Tech is a possibility for that course of study, he said.

“If football works out, great; I’ll go to school, but if not, I’m going to make me some race cars,” he said. “I like to go fast. I never really liked heights, but I like going real fast.”

In the final minute of the final game of the regular season last year, he tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee. That caused him to miss his junior season of baseball, where he’s played pitcher and first base since his freshman year, as well as spring football.

He said he put on some weight from sitting around, and he’s a step or two slower from the experience.

“But I’m starting to get that tenacious instinct back,” he said.

He sports a 3.0 GPA at MHS and has been involved in FCA and FBLA, among other activities.

“He is always willing to help out,” Davis said. “He will pick up the locker room without being asked, or he will help a teacher with something they need. He stays on his teammates to excel in the classroom. He is also an active leader in his local youth group.”

His community activities have included helping with the Vilonia tornado cleanup last spring, working with local peewee football teams and volunteering to do yard work for his neighbors.

His sportsmanship is obvious on the field, Davis said.

“He’s a very aggressive player during the play, but as soon as the whistle blows, he will help his opponent up,” the coach said. “He is willing to stay late and help the younger guys learn the game. He always gives teammates rides to and from practice.”

Plezia, a son of Andy and Kathy Plezia, said he was pleasantly surprised to be named to the first 501 Football Team.

“I thought it was pretty cool,” he said. “I’m not one of the big shots; I hadn’t gotten much stuff. I was pretty excited when coach told me I was going to be on the team.”

Tyler Plezia.