Mike Buchanan credits football with helping shape the person he is today.
Without football, Mike Buchanan isn’t sure where or what he’d be.
When he looks down on the scale, he sees 278 pounds, but he knows, that could easily be a lot more.
“I’m big now, but without that motivation from football, I’d be way bigger,” Buchanan said. “Football has made me a better person.”
A senior starting left tackle at Whitman-Hanson Regional High, Buchanan recently committed to play at the next level for Bridgewater State University.
Football’s always been Buchanan’s passion and his weight has always been his biggest challenge. The two have crossed paths often.
In third grade, he was 40 pounds over the weight limit to make the Hanson Youth Football mites team. So he took the field with players who were two to three years older than him as a member of the peewees, instead.
“It was tough,” Buchanan said. “I almost quit after the first practice because I was playing with fifth and sixth graders.”
But his coach took him aside after that first day.
“He talked me into keep playing,” Buchanan said. “He knew I loved the game, I always have.”
From that point on, Buchanan had a new outlook on his playing career — no matter how tough the road would get.
“I was like, ‘If I’m going to stick with it now, I’m going to stick with it forever,’” he recalled.
That would be challenged again a few years later, when in seventh grade, he found himself 40 pounds over the peewees’ weight limit. So, he ended up suiting up for Weymouth Youth Football, where the teams were decided by grade not weight.
“It made me kind of nervous playing there,” Buchanan said. “You’re 12, 13 years old, going to a totally different town with totally different people. You’ve never talked to these people in your life.”
Buchanan credits his youth career for helping him morph into the player he is today.
“The coaches taught me so much,” he said. “That team in Weymouth is when I realized that football is just awesome because there were so many guys and we were so good.”
This past season, Buchanan helped spearhead a Panthers’ rushing attack that averaged 141 yards per game.
“Every time we needed a play, we went behind Mike,” said W-H football head coach Mike Driscoll. “He was the leader of our offensive line.”
Buchanan had never started a varsity game coming into the fall but put together an “amazing” offseason, according to Driscoll.
“He earned that spot,” Driscoll said. “He went in at left tackle the first practice and never left. He came into this season, determined to be the leader, determined to work hard every practice, there was never a practice where Mike didn’t want to be there.”
Buchanan said he’s going to build up his speed and strength before he heads to the collegiate level next fall.
“I’m already one of the biggest guys on the team,” he said. “I can’t be one of the weakest or slowest. I plan on getting there this year.”