Summer diary of a BLHS athlete
When Jake Brown was 8 years old, he asked his father Paul, the current Basehor-Linwood High School football coach, if he could someday play linebacker for him when he got to high school.
Coach Brown's response was typical, and it was based around hard work and dedication.
"He told me that if I worked hard and did the right things that he knew I'd be a good player for him someday," Jake said. "I want to be one of those great players that my dad coached. I want to be the best possible football player I can be. I didn't really care if I had enough talent to play linebacker or not. I knew from then on that if I worked hard enough I could play for my dad some day."
That day is nearing. Although Jake has been a starter on the BLHS varsity football team for the past two seasons, the senior-to-be said he never felt like it was his team because he was an underclassman. Now, however, as he enters his senior season, Brown is prepared to become a leader both on and off the field.
As a junior, Jake was the Bobcats' leading tackler from the linebacker position. Midway through last season, Brown moved from outside linebacker to inside linebacker and as he continues to work out and prepare during the summer, he's confident he can play either position when the season rolls around.
"I've seen good football a lot of places," Jake said. "And I think if you can picture what you're supposed to do, you'll have a lot more success. I feel like I can do that from either position. A guy doesn't have to have the ball. As long as I can still blast somebody, I'm happy."
Jake will most likely be in position to blast as many opponents as he wants this year. While the Bobcats' offense lost a quarterback, three offensive linemen and two running backs, the defense lost almost nothing. With himself firmly planted in the center of that defense, Jake said he's looking forward to the challenge of the defense being asked to lead this year's team.
"I think if our defense can be a powerhouse, that will lead us," Jake said. "We've got almost our entire defense back and if it all comes together, the winning will take care of itself."
Until Jake and his teammates hit the field, there's only one way to get ready for the upcoming season by working hard in the offseason. Jake said that being around football his entire life has shown him what it takes to be a champion a great football player. He added that he only hopes what he does in the spring and summer pays off in the fall.
"I started lifting for this year on the morning of Oct. 31," Jake said, alluding to the day after his junior season ended with a playoff loss to Eudora. "Every time I lift, every time I run, I think that someone else at another school is working harder and that drives me."
Since that October morning, Jake hasn't taken a single day off. There have been days when he didn't hit the weight room or he didn't do the speed and agility training that Coach Brown gives to all the players, but Jake said he has done something everyday this offseason that will make him a better player during his senior season.
Jake didn't work his tail off each day this offseason because he was worried about his skills he knows by now that his work ethic will make up for anything he lacks in talent. Instead, he has hit the weights and done the drills because he doesn't know any other way to function. And because of that Jake said, the game of football, and most likely his senior season, will be nothing but fun, no matter what happens.
"I don't really feel any pressure," Jake said. "I can tell when the pressure's on, but that's when I feel a surge a surge that says bring it. Because either way, win or lose, I know this game's a lot of fun. I can't wait for my senior year to start."
Jake and the Bobcats will report to camp the last week in July. Fall practice begins Aug. 19, and the Bobcats' first game is Sept. 6.