Heart and soul|Smith, Williams, Varnado believe Buccaneers are ready for a push into the postseason

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bowling Green School seniors Russ Smith, Jake Williams and Drew Varnado know that for Bowling Green to have a successful season, they must trust in one another.

The Buccaneers also must understand that becoming a champion is a 24-hour a day job.

“I think our attitude has been great,” second-year Bowling Green coach Carmon Moore said. “We are pleased with where we are right now compared to last year.”

“I think we have a legitimate shot to get to the playoffs which is certainly our goal. That can be attainable if we can stay healthy and play as well as I think we can but in this business, nobody gives you anything. You have to earn it.”

Bowling Green was 4-6 last season and missed out on the MAIS postseason for the first time in three seasons. The Buccaneers were 1-3 in District 6-2A play.

Smith returns at center and moves back to the defensive front after earning first-team all-district on both sides of the ball last season and registering 71 tackles and five sacks at linebacker. Williams returns at linebacker where he totaled 58 tackles to earn first-team all-district and will be the Buccaneers’ top back on offense. Varnado also returns at strong back and linebacker where he earned second-team.

“Russ is just a really solid football player, we feel very solid about Jake and Drew has been as steady a player as you could ask for,” Moore said.

Smith, Williams and Varnado are part of a class of 11 seniors that includes Stuart Slade, Andy Cooper, Sebastion Milton, Grant Ball, Bryce King, Alex Mizell, Sawyer Jenkins and Drew Taylor, who suffered a season ending injury in an automobile accident. The Buccaneers expect to dress about 35.

The group understands the importance of leadership and play the game for the right reasons.

“We don’t want to wait till next year because we will be gone,” Williams said. “It is our senior year and it is going to go by quick so we need to win this year and not wait. Football teaches you respect and helps you in life when you get out of high school.”

“It is a great game,” Varnado said. “It teaches you a lot of life lessons and self discipline. It is not just to have fun. It helps you throughout your whole life. It is about doing all the little things right all the time. Being a champion is not a part-time job. It is all the time.”

“It makes you a man,” Smith said. “It makes you learn that pain is just temporary. Pride is forever. You just have to keep winding and grinding until you finally make it. You have to really try and put your heart and soul into it and realize that winning doesn’t just come overnight. It is a full-time job and we just want to build a foundation for generations to come.”

Family means a lot to the trio. Smith (Robert Vandan) and Williams (Bob Williams and Shelby McKenzie) credit their grandfathers for inspiration.

“He always told me to do something with my life instead of being a bum so I started playing football,” Smith said.

“One is 75 and the other is 65 and they will probably work until the day they die,” Williams said. “I just look up to them and want to be just like them.”

“You just want to do good for your family and be a good tough player,” Varnado said.

Smith, Williams and Varnado know that this is their last year to get the most out of the game.

“We expect to do a lot better than last year,” Varnado said. “The first goal is to make it to the playoffs and it would be great to represent Franklinton with a good run in the postseason.”

“We got some good leaders this year and we just want to try and show everyone we can go all the way,” Williams said.

“Going out with a winning season and a push in the playoffs would be great but just knowing I did all I could do is worth it,” Smith said.