He reaches back across his body to snatch the football out of mid-air, and it barely makes a sound as Dave Stala tucks it under his arm and turns up field.
Nicknamed “Sticky” for a reason, the veteran receiver has been catching footballs at a record rate this season.
After being named the Canadian Player Of The Week for the second time already this season, Stala is on pace for career highs in yards, catches and touchdowns.
Not exactly known for his speed, Stala has had to use his ability to make the tough catches to make himself into a clutch possession receiver.
“That’s always been the strong point of my game, if you put the ball in an area close to me I’m going to get it, that’s not an issue,” he said.
Another factor that has played into his success is the relationship and timing that he has developed with his quarterback, Kevin Glenn.
“It’s about hitting our spots and Kevin has done a great job of finding us (the receivers) and giving us a chance to make plays,” said Stala. “Kevin is so smart, he understands defences and systems so well that he knows where guys on the defence are going to be in certain situations.”
After resurrecting his career in Hamilton after signing in 2009, Stala has been able to stay away from the injury problems that plagued him earlier in his career.
“I changed my workout habits in the off-season, and also my diet,” said Stala.
“I lost ten to twelve pounds this off-season so I think that’s a big part of what I’m doing this season,” he said.
No spring chicken, Stala understands the importance of keeping himself in top shape in order to stay healthy.
“I’m lighter on my feet but I’m also getting a bit older so I’ve got to really take care of my body,” he said.
Stala became an overnight internet sensation last week after clips of his soccer-style “keep up” touchdown celebration made it onto Youtube and was featured on ESPN’s Sportscentre and Pardon the Interruption, CNN and SI.com’s ‘Hot Clicks’.
“I didn’t expect all that. It’s overwhelming and we had fun with it, but on the other hand, when you score touchdowns and win football games it’s a lot more fun,” said Stala.
After scoring again this past weekend, fans waited with baited breath to see what he would do next, but Stala had nothing planned, and punted the ball out of the back of the stadium.
Stay tuned this week however, as rumours are that Stala has an encore presentation aimed at outdoing his previous feat.
“I do have something for this week but you’re just going to have to wait,” he said.