WHITEHOUSE, Texas — Of all the shocking things about Patrick Mahomes’ MVP season for the Kansas City Chiefs, the most shocking might have been that it was his first season as a starter. But it's kind of his style to 'wow' people when given the opportunity.
For example, he didn't start at quarterback in high school until he was a junior.
His high school head coach in Whitehouse, Texas, said he has a lot of fond memories of those days.
"I remember people saying, 'Hey, you've got this one young kid coming, his name is Patrick Mahomes, and his daddy's a professional baseball player,'" Adam Cook said.
Cook now serves as Athletic Director for Whitehouse ISD.
Cook met Mahomes at a football camp when Patrick was in the 4th or 5th grade. That relationship continued through Mahomes’ high school days.
“When he got out here on the field, you always knew you were in a game,” Cook said. “I know as a coach, I know what kind of confidence that gave me.”
But Patrick's high school career had a surprising start, considering it was only a few years prior to him winning NFL MVP. He won a quarterback competition his junior year, after playing defensive back as a freshman and sophomore.
And once he became the starter?
"You're able to walk out there and be pretty confident as an offensive coach that hey, we've got a chance to put up a lot of points with Patrick in there," Cook said.
Just a couple of weeks before Chiefs training camp began in St. Joseph, Missouri, 41 Action News’ SkyTracker captured video of Mahomes hurling a football out of Arrowhead Stadium. His former coach said that moment happened because Patrick is, above all else, a competitor.
That's some serious arm strength right there💪🏽. @Chiefs @PatrickMahomes #OurQuarterback #ChiefsKingdom #Chiefs pic.twitter.com/YN7CUNSFCS— 41 Action News (@41actionnews) July 12, 2019
“I guarantee you, the next time he wants to go out, and tries to throw the ball out of Arrowhead Stadium, he remembers where he was standing that last time, and he's going to back it up just a little bit, to see if he can throw it further this time," Cook said.
Mahomes' last pass in high school was an interception, in a 65-60 playoff loss, as Mahomes was attempting to lead his hometown Wildcats to a victory. The ball bounced off the hands of his intended receiver, and into the arms of a defender.
“There's a picture of him and his dad at that football game where they're both sobbing, I think his dad was crying more than he was," Cook said.
Mahomes' magical 2018-2019 season ended in heartache in the AFC Championship, a 37-31 overtime loss to the New England Patriots. But he and the team head into the 2019 season with even more fan support, including a branch of Chiefs Kingdom in the heart of East Texas.
“He's taken this whole community of Whitehouse on this great little ol' ride you know,” Cook said. “Of striving, trying to get that last win, whether it's a state championship, national championship at the college level, now it's the Super Bowl. I think I'm just one of many in this area who, now, really love the Chiefs.”
The boy Cook met barely 15 years ago is now the face of the NFL, and when he watches him play, the kid, or maybe kid's love of the game, is still there in every snap.
“I catch myself sometimes thinking, ‘Man, Patrick's a good kid,’” Cook said. “But he's not, he's now a great man. When you see that boy coming out of there (the tunnel), fire shooting everywhere, I think all of us are drawn to these athletes that still play the game with that love and that passion, and the only way you can do it is you still have to have an element of a kid in you."