Ready reserves push starters
Don’t sleep on the blue-collar workers who put in time behind the scenes for the Washington football team. These five seniors have been with the program for all four years, with some making their last start four years ago for the freshman team. Meet seniors Tristan Pohren, Jordan Wallace, Brett Brinning, Adam Guy and Nate Ross, the players who throw their pads on every practice with one objective — to bring the best out of the first team.
The reserves wouldn’t have it any other way than to be around their old teammates.
“I know (Washington) is a really talented group of guys and I have been playing with them since I was in fifth grade,” Pohren said. “It would be weird not to be around these guys every fall and do what we do.”
Initially known as the Scout team for running the same plays as opposing teams during practice, it now has a more decorated name.
“We decided to call our Scout team the Champs team,” said head coach Randy Schrader. “We implemented the champs chant. You need to give us a look. We need to have great effort out of you. You are going to make us better.”
These fourth-year players may not get consistent minutes but that doesn’t mean they haven’t had to fill in this year. Wallace has seen action in all five games up to this point.
“Against Keokuk we got up and had continuous clock,” Guy said. “That is when we get to go in. You always got to be ready. You have to be on the sideline standing ready to go in.”
Mention special teams around them and immediately you can see them light up. You can tell by their tone that they take great pride in playing special teams.
A high level of intensity from backups pushing the starters every day is crucial to having a winning program.
“I just try to support them and make them as good as possible,” Pohren said. “They are going to go half speed in the game if we go half speed. They are not going to get any better and improve.”
Schrader knows this. He is the first to note that without these reserves his team wouldn’t be in a position to win the district.
“They come every day to practice,” Schrader said. “They lift weights. They do give us a great effort. Our success is directly related to our practice.”
The Champs team has everything drawn up and schemed out for them by coaches. Their job is to get in the right position and execute the plays.
“We are supposed to go as hard as we can, 110 percent to give the starters a good look so they can get better,” Wallace said.
The preseason was an instance where Wallace got to play with the starters as he lined up at right guard.
“Up at Simpson, Tommy Peterson got hurt,” Wallace said. “I got my chance.”
All five guys have continued the tradition of donning the Demon jersey, something that was either passed down from an older brother or will be ushered on to a younger sibling.
“I had older brothers wear the (jersey) and I wanted to be like them,” Ross said.
In addition to putting on the jersey, playing for Washington means having a chance to take the field on Friday nights.
“Underneath the lights is the best thing in the world,” Brinning said.