By Trenton Brink
Titan football players spend each week scouting and learning the weaknesses of their enemy for each game friday night, but for some it is playing under the monday sun that drives them through each week.
When you think of football here at West, names like Cole Taylor, Matt Gauert, Kevin Knox, Zach Shanholtzer, and Jaqaue Jones come to mind. Varsity players who start on friday nights that you go to see. But on the sideline there are those who may not play, but put in the same amount of work as the big names.
On a monday, when TFOD is usually coming off of a big win, the juniors and sophomores get ready for game day round 2 while the seniors start practice. The JV squad goes to play their game, which is always the same team from the previous friday at the opposite field. Tuesday and Wednesday roll around, these days are the grueling, more difficult practice days. Yes, the JV players just played a game the previous day, but that is no excuse for TFOD. The underclassmen join the full varsity squad in full practice for the two days. They all do the same thing, there is no difference in the work or drills being done.
The only difference in what is actually being done is that the upperclassmen will get more reps running plays than the younger guys. But they are still doing the same thing. The whole entire team as a unit, has one very big thing in common. That is that all Titan football players put in the same amount of work ethic.
Although he starts Varsity at left tackle, senior Matt Gauert can atest to that. When asked about key differences between varsity and JV such as work ethic, he said, “I don’t know it’s as much as a difference in effort, a little bit in talent, but mainly just the age factor. People just have more experience. On Varsity a lot of guys don’t play until their senior year. (with JV) It’s just about learning the program, learning the ropes, getting used to the coaching style, all that.”
Although Matt is a senior now and starts Varsity, he cites his move into Varsity from his younger years as, “It’s a lot faster. The crowd’s a big factor. Everything is just bigger, faster, and can be scary if you get in there young, but if you’re in there and you’re experienced you’ll be fine.”
One of those younger guys who starts JV is Sophomore Sean Loseke. Sean starts right tackle and is always a play away from getting in on Friday nights. When asked on how he saw the comparisons and contrasts with varsity, he said,
“It seems like Varsity gives 110% effort. It’s the guys who the coaches see who will give all the effort they know they can give and that they can trust those guys. For JV it’s still a learning process I think. Everyone is still learning, like how they have to give 100%. “
Loseke also uses inspiration from head coach Vinny Careswell through his speeches to guide him through the Varsity program.
“Like coach Careswell said he went through high school playing JV then senior year he played Varsity. It’s kinda just that you have to learn and get ready mentally so you can be able to do that Friday nights.”
Players aren’t players without their coach, and JV coach Sal Badali gives the same message to JV guys as the Varsity squad gets.
“They have to work more on fundamentals than the guys on Varsity. The guys on Varsity have to get their assignments down. Work ethic wise I would say that the amount of work ethic has to be the same.”
The JV team plays on Monday afternoon’s and Varsity plays on Friday nights. The Titans are currently an even 2-2 as they continue their season to state.