McALLEN — McAllen Memorial’s Campbell Speights blew past his competition and ran away with The Monitor’s All-Area Offensive Player of the Year award as part of a spectacular senior season.
During his fourth season as the team’s starting running back, Speights helped lead the Mustangs to the second round of the playoffs and clinch a share of the District 30-6A title. He ended his senior season after setting new career marks across the board and garnering plenty of accolades and attention state wide as well.
He ended the year as the Valley’s leading rusher and tallied new career highs in rushing yards (2,568), carries (265), yards per carry (9.7) and rushing touchdowns (37), while also tallying 100-yard nights on the ground in 11 of his final 12 games. It was an ending to one of the most prolific high school football careers throughout the Valley and surpassed the loftiest early expectations.
“It’s definitely a humbling experience to be able to win such awards. Year after year, I’ve pretty much put everything that I have on the line to get those awards,” said Speights, who won The Monitor’s All-Area Newcomer of the Year Award as a freshman in 2016. “It’s been a great experience going through the high school football process. My brother always tells me, ‘There’s nothing like high school football,’ and I can definitely see that being true.”
Speights followed in his older brother Trevor’s footsteps in powering the Mustangs vaunted rushing attack. Both brothers stared at McAllen Memorial under longtime head coach Bill Littleton and helped bolster the program into a regional powerhouse.
The Speights brothers helped the Mustangs clinch playoff berths eight times. Trevor’s 9,868 and Campbell’s 7,541 career yards on the ground place both within the top five all-time rushers in the history of Class 6A, which they credit in large part to their tight, long-standing relationship with Littleton.
“He’s like a second father. With a lot of those guys on that coaching staff, if I had something I needed to say or somebody to talk to, they’ll always be there,” Speights said. “Those guys and Coach Littleton, it’s like a second home there and they’ll always be there for me and I love them.”
Speights and his fellow seniors helped the Mustangs achieve an incredible amount of success over a four-year run. During his tenure, McAllen Memorial went 33-13 and won 23 of 26 district games en route to capturing three district championships.
Speights and his teammates on a senior-heavy roster helped the team reach a 10-2 mark this season and entered the playoffs with just one loss. Thanks to his leadership and burst out of the backfield, Speights kept his team in every game this season.
The Mustangs held the No. 1 ranking in the RGVSports.com Top 10 poll and maintained a lead in every contest heading into the final 60 seconds of play.
“I think it was the best way to go out. I think our senior class lived up to the hype and pretty much made what we wanted to do with our senior year come to life,” Speights said. “It was fun to be able to get up and work out and play that last season and be with those guys. I wouldn’t want to go out any other way.”
One memory from his senior season sticks out, though, when Speights recalls making the game-saving play for the Mustangs on the other side of the ball.
“Against the PSJA (High) Bears, they put me in for the last drive,” Speights said. “They were driving down the field, and I ended up getting an interception to win the game. That’s just one thing that sticks in my mind.”
Speights received multiple DI scholarship offers to continue his football career at the collegiate level, but ended his recruiting process early when he announced his commitment to Navy in July 2019.
Speights spurned several big-name programs and chose to be a Midshipman early on because he understood how much more important it was to focus on life after football and his final season of playing high school ball.
“What played a big role (this season) was being able to clear my mind and play the game of football like I always have was just getting that recruitment process out of the way. I committed to Navy in the summer and after that, all the weight was off my shoulders and now it’s just time to play football like I always have,” he said. “It was definitely fun. I wanted to dedicate that season to just being able to go out there and put everything on the line for my guys and I think that’s what we all did for each other week in and week out.”