There’s no escaping the aura of Manasseh Brockus.
The senior linebacker for Durango High School’s football team only needs one introduction to be remembered, and for opposing players that introduction is usually a thunderous collision that leaves the ball carrier wondering what happened.
Brockus broke onto the high school football scene as a freshman who impressed coaches and fans with his passion and intensity for football. He rapidly worked his way into the starting lineup and immediately made his presence known with an ability to inspire his teammates with his play.
“Especially when he makes a big hit. It’s just so loud you have to feel his presence out there,” DHS head coach David Vogt said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Brockus and big hits have become synonymous the past few years, and around the DHS football program you can’t bring up one without the other. But more than football, big hits or anything else, there’s one descriptor for Brockus that’s never missed – his hair.
Whereas other players can be hard for fans to recognize on the football field, with only the number on their jersey to identify them from the distance of the bleachers, Brockus and his long brown hair, flowing out of the bottom of his helmet to cover the back of his jersey, makes him easy to find.
His hair has never been cut, only trimmed. And while his parents, Don and Jackie Brockus, named him after the biblical character Manasseh from the Old Testament, a name that means to forget your worries, at times Brockus seems to have a connection to a different Old Testament story and derives his football prowess from his hair like Samson.
“It’s my mojo,” Brockus said.
He added that it doesn’t bother him when someone describes him as “the kid with the long hair” because it means he’s different than everyone else.
“I kind of like it,” he said of the distinction. “I like being different than everyone else. Everyone else has the same little buzz with puff on top. I don’t like that. I like having something different.”
Brockus’ hair makes him stand out to the casual fan, the plays he makes on the field have made him a commodity to the team, and his leadership in the locker room has made him indispensable to the program.
His leadership helped during the Demons’ recent struggles. During a three-game losing streak, which was snapped Friday night with a 39-13 win against Sierra, Vogt said the senior stepped up and took on a bigger role. Brockus also had an interception on defense and ran in a touchdown on offense in the win.
“He’s a guy I can go to and say, ‘We need to fix this,’ and he’s the guy who talks to the guys individually with the in he has with them,” Vogt said. “It’s a good double message we can get out to the team.”
Now Brockus and the Demons turn their focus to Friday night’s game against Pueblo Central. It will be the team’s first home game in six weeks and will serve as homecoming for the Demons, which adds only more passion for Brockus to play with. More fire from Brockus usually leads to bigger hits, and that’s never a good thing for the opposition.
“We have to play every game like it’s our last, but homecoming with the big crowd, big student section, all the love in this town that we feel from everybody gives us that little extra boost,” Brockus said. “Winning that game is going to be awesome.”