Bucs News · Words of Wood- The Bodden Boys

The Buccaneer Bodden Boys

By Wayne Wood
As this decade of 2010-2020 at Hoover High School Buc Football comes to a close, it should be noted that a set of 3 brothers playing for the Bucs will have covered the span of every year. They are the Bodden Boys–the sons of Mindy and Mark Bodden. Both parents have been very actively involved with the program during that time helping in various ways such as Mark working with Buc Crew which helps set up the equipment & sideline for the games & Mindy serving various ways as an active member of the Buccaneer Touchdown Club.
All the boys wore jersey number 64 for most of that time passing down from brother to brother. The oldest, Nick, played from 2010-2013 and graduated in 2014. Jacob played from 2014-2017 graduating in 2018 and the youngest, David, began in 2016 and is currently a senior here in 2019 and will graduate in 2020. All brothers played on the offensive line.
From this point, let’s turn the script over to Nick the Elder who was sort of the “Bell Cow” or “Alpha Dog” of the set:
“My brothers and I come from a dedicated family towards the sport of football. The three of us grew up on the Quad tailgating for the University of Alabama games in Tuscaloosa when we were younger before we started high school or even playing football. We would drive to T-town on Friday night and stay with our grandparents for the weekend and on Saturdays go to the Quad and play a couple of pickup football games.”
“My first ever fight was on the Quad when some random kid who was playing with us was about the same size as I was at time. He was picking on my little brother (David) who was only in elementary school. We were playing touch football but for whatever reason he decided to make a form tackle on David like he was a middle linebacker playing on Sundays. There was probably an 8-year age difference between David and that kid who was being aggressive towards him.”
“I told him to ‘chill out-we are just doing touch football and have a good time’ and he replied with some smart comment about how he was better than everyone here. I then said, ‘Why don’t you try doing that on someone your own size’ and the very next play I caught the ball and ran straight towards him trucking him into the dirt. The kid, who was now very angry, got up and started to swing on me. At the time I was taking wrestling classes, so my instincts kicked in dodging his swings and I took him to the ground and started whaling on him. It looked a scene from ‘A Christmas Story’ when Ralph starts beating up the bully. Since then my role of the bog brother has always been to look out for my baby brothers and nobody was allowed to pick on them but myself. There were plenty of times where we would have disagreements, but nothing ever was to the extreme.”
“As far as my career with Hoover Football goes, in the 9th grade I was separated from the varsity team, so we had little interaction with the Varsity teammates. My first year on the varsity was in the 10th grade so I was on the scout team that entire year which at times can be stressful, but I felt like I helped made the defense better that year of 2011 even though we lost by 1 point in the state title game.”
“Leading up to my 11th grade year in 2012 I was never truly a ‘starter.’ Through my early football career going back to my middle school days, I was the guy that would would get thrown into the game in the last few minutes of each game just to get some playing time. Some might call this ‘riding the bench’ but I looked at this situation as more of a learning opportunity to try and figure out what I needed to do in order to ball out when my opportunity came and to prove to not only my coaches and friends that I could play football but also my family.”
“I wanted to be prepared for anything and everything so that when I was given my one opportunity, I did not let anyone down. Little did I know that the opportunity would come that very next year. Going into my 11th grade year after losing the state the year before, Coach Eads (Hoover offensive line coach) only had one lineman returning from that season so going into came it was a tossup on who was getting to stat. I remember that year in Scooba (a jr. college in Mississippi for their summer camp) it was a very emotional year for the offensive line. We had a lot of shoes to fill at the beginning of that year, but we made it work. Originally, I was not listed as a starter during camp. I had to put in a lot of hard work and fight everyday like it was the last that I would ever get to play.”
“The story behind how I became a starter my junior year was quite funny actually and Coach Eads will tell you the same thing. As stated before, we had no idea who was going to start that season on the O-line. I was currently being moved around from every position to see which one suited me the best. On this particular day during practice I was at the 3rd string center position. During the 2nd practice of two-a-days that day the O-line was doing horrible at the start of practice. There were a lot of missed assignments and busted plays. Finally Coach Eads, who at this point was very frustrated with how we were practicing decided to put me in at the center position to go against the defensive starters because he thought in his mind that I couldn’t do any worse than what he had already seen at the beginning of the say. He said after practice that I surprised him so much that he was going to keep me in with the 1’s for the rest of camp.”
“Eads said that I acted like I was the starter and played like I was the starter all along, so he kept me with the starters. I believe that this type of mentality was produced from my time spent at Hoover which I carried out through my entire football career and every single day. I learned a lot from all my Hoover coaches but the most important thing was that you never quit, you never settle for anything other than your absolute best and if you fail, get knocked down, you continue to get back up, you continue to drive, push yourself and your teammates to be the best person you can possibly be. I don’t know how to go any other speed. I know only this type of mentality, even if you fail you try again and again, to push for what you want to achieve, not just football but in life.”
“The 2012 and 2013 seasons, we went undefeated winning back-to-back state titles and none of that could have been accomplished if it weren’t for our outstanding coaching staff and all of the training that we as a team put in during the off-season. All of the 5 am runs and workouts paid off in the long run. I made a lot of friends my years spent at Hoover and I still try to stay connected with some of my old teammates.”
“During the 2013 season, the O-line was the group that set the tone for each practice and game. My favorite memory of the 2013 season was when we played at Bessemer City. Before the game, the Bessemer City coaches and players attempted to fight us before kickoff because we were doing the pregame walk on their field like we did every game and then on the opening kickoff Marlon Humphrey returns it for touchdown!”
“My college career was quite an adventure at Cumberland in Tennessee. My first loss in over 3 years was at Cumberland. I was 32-0 until we played UT-Martin in 2014. I remember that game very well because it seemed like I was the only player giving 110% in the 3rd quarter when we were down by 35 points. It had been so long since I had lost a game of football that I had forgotten what it was like to taste defeat and rebuild from that loss.”
“That particular game, I also played all 5 positions of the offensive line due to other players getting banged up or a helmet came off thus making me a jack-of-all-trades for the O-line. I might have been a true freshman on the line, but it didn’t matter who I was going against because I knew that I would have the technique and drive to out-work and defeat my opponent. This type of mentality that I brought to Tennessee also got me in trouble a few times at practice with some of the senior players that year. They did not like it when a freshman was pancaking them in practice when they wanted to go half speed, but I tried to explain to them that I only had one speed which was full speed 24/7.”
“As you might already know, Jacob was a few years behind me in school, so we actually never got to be on the field at the same time. I have always given both brothers some simple advice like don’t get too deep on your pulls or how to climb faster to the backers, but both David and Jacob have both come to me for advice when pursuing the next level of football and I told both of them the same thing. You need to go where you want to go, not where I tell you to go, not where mom or dad thinks you should go but where you want to go. I use myself as an example and the choice I made with going to Cumberland. I chose them because I knew that I would get an outstanding debt free education and have the opportunity to play as a freshman. Coming out of college debt free with a degree and getting to play college football is a hard accomplishment that not many people can say they have done.”
“Reflecting back on my past career, I have learned a lot that has helped me each and everyday. I made a lot of friends and connections with the sport. It’s still crazy to think that the cleats are hung up for good but I’m proud of what I have accomplished. I can honestly say that playing football changed me in all aspects of life. It was a fun ride but now I am taking everything that I have learned along the way and applying all of that to my studies and full-time job.”
“Playing football for Coach Niblett and Hoover High has taught me a lot about the importance of hard work and dedication not just to the sport but in life. No matter how long you have to wait for your one chance, no matter how many times you screw up, no matter what the circumstance may be, if you give your very best and settle for nothing below 110% you, we will be successful. And at Hoover, they don’t settle for anything other than the best.”
Nick currently lives in Fishersville, Virginia and works for J.B. Hunt as an operations supervisor. Jacob started at both guard & center for the Bucs during his junior & senior season in 2016 and 2017 (years the Bucs also won back-to-back state titles). After redshirting his freshman season in 2018 at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, he now plays left guard on the O-line. His major is Business. David started as a junior center for the Bucs in 2018 yet has also played guard & tackle then and into his senior season of 2019. He is the final link of the Bodden O-Line triology for the Hoover Bucs over the course of this decade. He was selected to play in the Alabama/Mississippi High School All-Star Classic this December and of course will also play college football like his older brothers.
The Bodden is another great family segment in the network of the Buccaneer Nation of Hoover.