Woodside coach Danny Dodson and QB Tyler Thompson (Photo: Joe Barnes/recruit757)
Choosing to be great: Woodside has placed a large emphasis on being active this summer
by Brandon Mitchell, recruit757
You don’t become great on accident.
You become great by blocking out all the noise that tends to pull you into a different direction. You become great by making the necessary sacrifices needed to put yourself in a position to succeed. Sacrifices can be different across the board depending on the depth needed to accomplish your particular goal. It can mean side stepping a Friday night out with your friends to get a late night film session in combined with a trip to the weight room. It can mean going out with your family and substituting a large five-topping pizza for a salad and a bottle of water.
The common denominator involved with wanting to be great isn’t necessarily within the act itself. If I want to become a better journalist, I’m not going to go anywhere writing every once in a while. The common denominator when it comes to wanting to be great is the consistency involved with the acts performed. The weight room is mandatory every single week and proper nutrition is to be practiced every single day. Mental stimulation is mandated every single day and the practice of discipline is to be matched with each and every task.
Woodside is taking no short cuts on its destination toward greatness. The Wolverines have benefited from being active each and every year. Woodside has advanced to postseason play in 11 of the last 12 seasons. However, success and greatness isn’t defined by how many wins or playoff appearances one can accrue. At the high school level it’s also tied to how many student-athletes you can help cross the threshold from playing football at the grade school level to playing for a collegiate program. That would mean your perspective on academic dominance has to be in line with that of your perspective on winning football games.
Everyone is different. At Woodside, the Wolverines have been consistent with helping student-athletes cross said threshold. Then again, this is a common trend within the Peninsula District as a whole.
When William Beverley arrived at Bethel in 2015, one of his main initiatives was that his men would find a collegiate home outside of the walls of Bethel upon graduation. This happened consistently throughout the tenure of Coach Beverley from prospects such as Joshua Owusu (William and Mary) all the way through Tyra Brewington-Parker (Glenville State). The same could be said about Mike Smith and Hampton. For years we’ve watched prospects such as Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech), Jovonn Quillen (Virginia Tech), Dazz Newsome (UNC), Elijah Conliffe (Florida), and Juanya Majette (ECSU) flourish after leaving the Crabbers.
If you look at the direction Danny Dodson has his Wolverines in, the same thing could be said about Woodside. Prospects such as Kamari Jackson (Delaware State), Jordan Knight (Ferrum), Christian Walker (Apprentice School), Kendall Bell (Ferrum), and Keonte Holiday (Ventura) continue to strive to be great until this day. And yet, what does it truly mean to strive to be great?
“Greatness happens when someone uses their God given abilities to their maximum potential,” Coach Danny Dodson explained.
Former Woodside starting quarterback Tyhier Tyler was recruited by the United States Military Academy just a few years ago. One has to embody a certain type of discipline in order to become recruited by any of the service academies. For the Army quarterback, greatness is all about the constructive encounters you make along the way with said God given abilities.
“To be great, in my opinion, is to give your all in everything you do and have positive impacts on the people you encounter in life,” Tyler stated. “If you’re a good person then it will translate to the other pillars of life.”
Woodside is expecting more positive relationships to integrate into its program with the acquisition of Seth (2020 LB 6-1 215) and Koa (2022 LB 5-10 190) Naotala from Menchville. Expect them to make an immediate impact from the linebacker position as both combined for 257 tackles and 12 sacks last season.
The Wolverines continue to be on an upward path throughout the off season as a portion of players were able to make their way out to William and Mary last week for a 7-on-7 competition. Woodside finished 2-1 in pool play before having the tournament cancelled due to impending weather.
“We started off a little shaky at first losing our first game in the morning.” Seth Naotala said. “As the day progressed were won our next two before it all got cancelled.”
In order to be great as a team, it starts by looking yourself in the mirror and asking what you can contribute in order to help the program as a whole become a better unit. On June 2, starting defensive end Tyreece White (2020 DE 6-0 205) made his way out to Old Dominion where he was able to camp with a multitude of prospects. Near the end of last week, starting tight end Breyden Byrd (2020 TE 6-3 238) got the opportunity to camp at Wake Forest. He was also a participant at the recruit757/Sparta Science Showcase at Redskins Park in mid-March alongside a contingent of Wolverines hoping to get better on the day.
Preparing to become better for the upcoming season will be a central theme throughout the rest of the spring and into the summer for the Wolverines. Coach Dodson has confirmed that the next Woodside outing will be at Ocean Lakes on June 22.
– Brandon Mitchell