2017-10-06 / Sports

Linebackers highlight loaded Wells roster

By ALEX SPONSELLER
Associate Sports Editor

The Wells football team has become one of the state’s premiere programs over the past decade, and entered 2017 as the defending Class C state champions.

2017 has been a year of transition for the Warriors, who now compete in the Class D South. Wells also has turned to some new faces to lead the way, and have once again gotten elite results as the first-place Warriors are perfect at 5-0.

Head coach Tim Roche is always sure to field a top-notch defensive unit, and feels that he has once again struck gold in his linebacking core, which consists of seniors Chad Fitzpatrick, Nolan Potter, Sean McCormack-Kuhman, and sophomore Peyton MacKay.

These four run stoppers have been key in making the Wells defense a shutdown group, which has averaged just seven points allowed per game to go along with two shutouts this season.

“We’ve really come together and camp was a big part of that. We really learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses and how to utilize those. We’re all leaders, we all try to help each other out at practice and do what’s right,” said Fitzpatrick. “I like to think that we’re one of the best linebacker groups in the state. No one can really run on us, we work well together and we do our jobs.”

Roche has been particularly impressed with his linebackers’ versatility and athleticism. Fitzpatrick and Potter for example, are two of the conference’s top offensive players as well.

“Pretty much everyone on this team can play every position,” said Potter. “We all know how to play football and we have a lot of athletes on this team. This team is really close as a group, in the locker room you can tell that it’s a family, there’s no divide.”

Having three seniors has also been key for the Warriors, which has given these linebackers familiarity with one another since day one.

“Our ability to rely on one another and to do our job (has been important). We don’t have to worry about other people’s jobs because we know we can get it done. We’ve been doing it for the past couple of weeks and years. We all have experience in big games,” said McCormack-Kuman.

MacKay has also been a seamless fit into the Warriors’ system, and he has enjoyed his time learning from the veterans as he builds his resume at the varsity level.

“It’s a huge difference, but with the team we have they just help me with everything, with all the workouts, getting stronger. They’re all athletes and they all know what they’re doing,” said MacKay.

The Wells linebackers have also become close friends on and off the field during their time at WHS.

“This group is a bit smaller but we’re definitely a tight-knit group, with everything we go through in preseason, early morning lifting, the summer and all that. It really brings us all together and it’s a bond like no other, it’s pretty special,” said Potter.

The Warriors hope that their experience, talent, and chemistry will once again help them achieve their ultimate goal.

“We all want the same thing — we all want to win a championship and that’s a huge part. We all love working hard to get to that goal,” said MacKay.

“We’re all pretty close, we all hang out outside of school and off the field. We’re just really good friends and it makes it easier to rely on each other,” added McCormack-Kuman. “You know they want to achieve the same goal as you — to win a state championship.”

Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at asponseller@journaltribune.com or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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