The Warriors from Waubonsie Valley have made the playoffs 12 of the last 14 years. Coach Paul Murphy and company hope they have what it takes to make it back in his 15th year.
Time is of the essence as Waubonsie Valley. Not only is it important to be at practice on time, but Coach Paul Murphy wants to make sure no player is stepping on the field before they are ready. Best example of that is new QB Ethan Nelson stepping in to fill the shoes of Jack Drow.
Murphy: “Takes three years by the end of the third year, they are ready to be a varsity quarter back. The same with Ethan, he got to play in one and a half games last year because Jack cut his face , he finished the Edwardsville game and Naperville North game and got a victory there. Techincally he is 2-0 as a varsity QB.”
Nelson: “I think it helps a lot, getting experience under the belt and having confidence. It was a lot of fun and it’ll be a really fun year with some experience.”
Nelson has two games under his belt but Senior Running Back Bryce Logan has spent more than a few hours under the lights, rushing for 1,148 yeards and 11 touchdowns last year.
Logan: “Working my way up from freshman, I’ve been with the same guys, have the same goals. It goes down to leadership, it’s just like I have so many people looking up to me and it feels good but it’s nerve racking.”
As for the defensive side of the ball, time is on their side during the summer.
Murphy: “Especially early in camp, defense is always ahead. Offense needs a ton of reps to get it down. The D has advantage early. That’s what helps us get off to a good start. Our D is so aggressive and everyone is getting their but kicked at practice and no body likes that.”
But once the season starts, Defensive tackle Joey Gits and the rest of the line hope that last year’s success of going 7 and 4 will carry over to this season.
Gits: “Our defense was really good last year and we are just making sure we continue that, working on the same stuff. We got new faces, returning faces; a lot of guys step up so that’s good.”
And time is on their side to integrate those new faces on what is typically a resilient WV defense.
Murphy: “We pretty much program it where we are trying to peak at the end of the season. Sometimes you get your big rivalry game in the middle of the year and then you want to win that but if you peak at the beginning of the year then what do you have when you get to the playoffs. My first two years here we would peak early and we would be one and done in the playoffs and the goal isn’t to be one and done it’s to go as far as you can in the playoffs.”
Even though Murphy’s long term focus is on the playoffs, the warriors do have some marquee match-ups on the schedule including Neuqua at the end of September and Naperville Central in October, but Nelson isn’t feeling the pressure.
Nelson: “For me, there is no pressure, honestly. I am just going to go out there be who I am, trust the coaching staff and the team. WE are a great team and I have a lot of confidence in myself with my arm. I understand this offense so there isn’t a lot of pressure.”
Logan: “Every day is a grind. We have been playing the DVC for the last four years now going in to our senior year so we know that is going to be a tough year no matter what, just stay grounded, stay humbled, and just do the best you can and take the outcome as it happens and learn from it and move on.”
Do the best you can and be on time for practice. Take care of those two things and the rest should fall in to place for Waubonsie Valley.
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