Kris Aylor was a 4-year-old when the first pass from a Pasadena Memorial quarterback zipped through that air on a late summer’s eve so long ago.
Trey Carter was his name and Trey had this rough-around-the-edges toughness about him that befit a high school QB. He even turned that roughness into a career on the rodeo circuit after his high school days.
Dylan Adamek, who followed Carter at the position, had Trey-like traits and so did Bo Snelson, who replaced Adamek.
If one is looking for traits in Aylor that was found in Carter, Adamek and Snelson, you’re not going to find them, at least not at the surface. You’ll have to dig a little deeper to discover them. OK, maybe a lot deeper.
Aylor is so polite, so friendly, so respectful, so unquarterback-like from a personality standpoint that he’s going to try and prove this fall that nice guys don’t finish last or even seventh, or sixth, or fifth, or fourth or even third. Wow, maybe, just maybe, nice guys do on occasion really do finish first.
In other words, picture Peyton Manning’s demeanor, who is headed straight to the NFL Hall of Fame in a few more years and you sort of have a picture of Kris Aylor’s demeanor.
The Memorial coaches think the world of him but just in case, it’s all just a ruse, there’s someone who could really set the record straight in a heartbeat – Kris’ sister.
“We have our moments because we’re brother and sister so it’s normal to fight but I’m always there for him and he’s always there for me. We’re always there for each other in the end and we do great when it comes to sports. We’re both there for each other, cheering each other on, making sure we’re doing our jobs,” said Jordan Aylor, a member of Memorial’s varsity volleyball team.
Outside of summer last flings to New Braunfels with family and obligations like doting after two younger siblings, bringing them along for summer camps and such, the Aylor teenagers do take their team obligations very seriously.
“If Kris wanted to be a coach someday, he’d be an excellent coach. He’s a coach on the field right now. We’re really counting on him to be a coach on the field. The kids look up to him because they know how hard he works. We’ve had people in the past who didn’t work hard and wanted that leadership role but weren’t willing to put in the time or effort and Kris is,” said Memorial assistant coach Gerry Cole.
For the longtime Pasadena ISD football coach, he’s enjoying his second tour with the Aylor family. When Cole was the seventh grade football coach at Miller Intermediate way back in the late 1980s, one of his players was Kris’ dad, Greg Aylor, who is a South Houston graduate.
“We tried him at quarterback and it didn’t work out,” Cole jokingly recalled.
Kris is determined to make his one chance at starting quarterback be as successful as possible as he attempts to give Memorial back-to-back state playoff berths for the first time since the 2013-2014 seasons.
“We have a lot of great kids coming back. I think as a whole group, we’re going to be really great. We’ve got a good coaching staff behind us, pushing us in the right direction. I think we’ll be really successful. We’re shooting for that district championship just to show people that we can do it and we’re not underdogs, that we really can play and compete with anybody else and even make it past the first and second rounds of the playoffs and actually push forward and go. It’d be nice to have a little bit of fun for our last ride, go out with a bang,” Aylor said.
To prepare for his senior season behind center, Aylor, in addition to working out with a trainer, he’s attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes football camp at Texas A&M the week of July 4th as well as a quarterbacks camp at the University of Houston with Cougars head coach Major Applewhite and a host of others.
“I’m just trying to better myself and learn the offensive game, help the team out. There’s a lot of mechanics that I’ve learned that I’ve faulted on as far as using my hips and power instead of just throwing with my arm, learning defenses better,” the 17-year-old Aylor said.
One thing the Mavs ask of their quarterback is to be mobile. If the pocket begins to collapse, he’d better know when to take off and run. In the little bit of time that Aylor played quarterback last season, he was quite elusive, averaging 8.75 yards over a dozen carries, including a touchdown.
“I’ve slowly learned to evade big guys,” Aylor joked.
“We have a running quarterback in our offense so he can do that. We have to have three threats. We need a tailback, a fullback and a quarterback that’s a threat to run if we’re to be successful here. He’s accurate.
“He’s got a strong-enough arm. He can throw the deep ball, he can throw it short. We put him in a couple situations last year and did well.
“Kris is a smart kid and a good leader. It’s just a matter of him getting better in his passing game, reading the defense and throwing it to the right guy. He’s going to be pretty good for us,” Memorial head coach Chris Quillian said.
From quarterback camps and evading rushes, Aylor’s come a long way at the position in a pretty short amount of time.
“I didn’t actually start playing football until the seventh grade.
“My parents were always a little apprehensive about it. But in my seventh-grade season, I was a receiver. Going into eighth, everybody knew I could throw so one of the coaches said, ‘Just come play quarterback'” Ever since then, it’s been quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. It was really nerve-wracking.
“At quarterback, you’re kind of the main guy. People look at you to lead the team. I had never been put into that role. I remember my eighth-grade season, we went undefeated. Everybody’s looking at me for answers, what to do.
“The more you play, the more natural it becomes,” Aylor said.
But back to that demeanor of Aylor’s. One wonders if the young man’s vocabulary has ever gotten “too colorful.” In other words, has he ever cursed?
“I heard him once but it was in the middle of a game and he was in the middle of it,” Jordan Aylor said. “We’re both very competitive with our sports.”
In Kris Aylor’s case, opponents had better not judge this book by its cover.
He may not exhibit that rough, sandpaper exterior that so many quarterbacks exude, but rather by the fire that burns inside.