After finishing 5-5 last fall, Wootton High School’s football team is setting out to make a run in the 2017 playoffs.
The team had just four starters graduate after last season, leaving the Patriots with a veteran team. But Wootton has not made playoffs since 2008, its only trip since 1991. The team has started preparing now for its fall season.
Cornerback and strong safety Alec Yassin is one of the returning veterans. He started every game last season as a sophomore and sees the belief in next year’s team.
“We were a very young team last year,” Yassin said. “So we’re looking really strong going into next year, and all of us have the mentality that we’re going to go to playoffs. ”
The team began training together after school about a month after its 2016 season ended. The Patriots even get together on weekends to run through drills, Yassin said. With the season months away, it’s difficult to motivate every player.
“I’m just trying to get them hyped up for the season by telling them the potential we have as a team and telling them they’re going in as seniors,” Yassin said. “They’re not going to have much high school football left in them.”
Elijah Trent is headed into his final season as a Patriot. He started playing when he was 8 years old and now plays receiver for Wootton. The goal goes beyond playoffs for Trent. He is looking to win a state championship, saying “it’s a good way to go out.”
Another senior, quarterback Grant Saylor is all in for his final season.
“I give it my all, and I am willing to do whatever it takes,” Saylor said. “Whether it’s drop back and throw it 50 times or handoff 50 times, I just want to win. I practice everyday to get my skill set ready for this season.”
Coming off of a building year, a state championship would come with many challenges. The Patriots will face Northwest High School during the first week of the season, and then Richard Montgomery High School on week four, both games having big playoff implications, Yassin said. The team hopes to follow through with its goal and bring success back to its school.
“It’d be insane for our school,” Yassin said. “Of course we want to do it for us and to get that feeling, but to bring that back to our school, like the feeling that everyone is going to get to be in the playoffs and after we play in a state championship, would just be incredible for not only the team, but everyone in the school.”
Edited by Justin Meyer.25
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