A chat with a high school athlete preparing for a fall sports season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Watseka football player DREW WITTENBORN, who will be a senior next season.
What did going 7-4 and winning a playoff game last season do for the program’s direction?
It honestly just showed us that we are able to do it — we can go places. It really boosts our confidence. It not only boosts the confidence of the people that were in the program at the time, but (also) the people that are coming into the program now. The eighth-graders, they didn’t have football very much because of kids not playing, but now people are starting to play again and it’s bringing more people into the program.
Do you worry about what effect the pandemic might have on the program’s momentum?
It is kind of scary, but our coaching staff’s doing a really good job with getting us to do stuff. We’re lifting by ourselves. We’re doing everything we can while staying safe.
Why was last year’s team able to have so much success despite a relatively young roster?
Coach (Aaron) Hilgendorf finally got our footing down with all our stuff, with all of our teaching. Especially the juniors and seniors started leading, and we started to get our feet onto the ground.
Was there a moment or game that defined your 2019 season?
First playoff game last season against Tremont. Stuff started to go downhill, but we bounced back and our defense got a stop on the 2-yard line. Two plays later, I dropped back and dumped one down to Conner Curry, and he takes one 99 yards to the house. I think that perfectly defines our season — we started great, kind of got down a little bit and then bounced back to win the game.
What are your expectations for the 2020 team?
We have very high expectations, but we also know we need to improve a lot. What’s great about us is there’s so many people coming back. We have so many leaders, like Conner Curry and Tylor Durflinger. It’s easy to be good around those type of guys. We even have three O-line(men) coming back, with Shawn Farris leading that squad.