There are mornings Drew Ponder would love nothing more than to guide a razor through the jungle of brown hair lengthening daily on his face.
And yet deep down, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound Center Grove defensive lineman understands this is one tackle he simply can’t make. Ponder’s whiskers are the tailback possessing just enough of a gift for evasiveness that no matter which angle he pursues, he misses.
Should Ponder wish to take on a different look in November, fine. But not now.
Sight or even rumor of a clean-shaven Ponder would immediately instigate a flood of text messages aimed at the senior’s cellphone, Trojans football alums Joel Hale and O’rion Elder being among the first to express their disapproval.
“It’s tradition,” said Ponder, a two-year starter for the Class 5A No. 6 Trojans. “It’s what we do.”
Every ritual, athletic or otherwise, has its ground floor.