Nixa football

Nixa's Clayton Uber makes a tackle at Republic on Friday.

Clayton Uber was hoping to bring home a keepsake of his first interception on the varsity level, namely the football itself.

The Nixa junior defensive back held onto the pigskin after picking off a pass at Republic last week. He still had the football as he stood on the Eagles’ sideline before being approached by a referee with his hands out.

“I wanted to keep the ball, but the ref made me give it back,” Uber said.

The way Uber has hounded receivers two games into his career as a starter for Nixa, he’ll likely have more interceptions in the future. In an Eagles secondary in which teammates Kolyn Eli and Jared Spence have received considerable attention, Uber is making a name for himself.

“I know it’s only two games in, but he’s been very consistent,” coach Rich Rehagen said. “He’s so motivated and is doing such a nice job. He’s come in and said, ‘Defense is my role.’”

“It’s been a long time coming,” Uber added. “I’ve been working hard to get to this level.”

Uber debuted by making eight tackles in Week One against Carthage. He followed up his pick at Republic by breaking up a pass on third down that forced the Tigers to punt. Uber’s pick came on a tipped pass.

“(Republic receiver) Josh Sterling ran a wheel-route and I was pressing up on him when I saw (quarterback Lucas Hayes) scramble and throw the ball,” Uber said. “I just went to the ball and got a lucky tip.”

Unlike Eli and Spence and several other Eagles defenders, Uber doesn’t see time on offense. He’s happy to devote all of his attention to defense.

“I tried offense last year on the jayvee, but I’m a defensive guy,” he said. “I love just paying defense. I have lots of energy and am flying around all the time.”

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