Pepperell’s defenders bring wrestling experience to the grid Roman news-tribunes


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Being a defender involves not only withstanding the physical pressure of the opponent’s defense, but also the mental aspect of the stadium full of eyes that observes and analyzes your every move.

Quarterbacks require both physical and mental strength to overcome adversity, and the Pepperell Dragons certainly have that in their quarterback room.

Three of Pepperell’s quarterbacks, junior Matthew Waddell and sophomores Erik Jensen and Kolton Edge, transfer their wrestling and matting experiences to the grid as another season of high school football arrives. All three have been fighting since eighth grade.

“The big thing about wrestling is the mental part,” Waddell said. “I believe that the things you go through in wrestling, like the type of fitness and … mental goals you have to achieve, help you in almost all your sports, but especially in football because you already have such fitness from wrestling and the mentality that I am a go-getter. , I will complete all these things. ”

Last February, Waddell won the state championship in the AA class in wrestling, bringing the individual title back to Lindale, for the first time since Drake Miller won the state in 2019.

“When I worked at the state level, I said to myself‘ I’m the state champion, I’m the state champion, ’” Waddell said. “That way of thinking led me to the goal, so I believe most of these people don’t take that way of thinking seriously and move on to a higher level.”

Jensen said wrestling has an individualistic aspect, which requires 100% every time on the mat.

“It’s you against your opponent. If you lose, it’s your fault, no one else’s, ”Jensen said. “In football, it is easy to blame that corner, that security, that player. But for wrestlers, mentally, they know it mentally, that’s all we are. We all screwed up. ”

Waddell, who was Pepperell’s majority quarterback last year, said he has physically improved his leg performance in wrestling the most and hopes it will move to the football field this fall.

Edge, who is also listed as a line player and runs backwards, could affect the entire Dragons field.

“I’ve talked to a lot of coaches and they all told me, as well as as a line player, that all our good strikers were wrestlers because … like a two-legged kick or a shot, they just know how to get down and down.” said Edge.

While physical endurance improves one’s ability to compete, mental strength allows them to endure physical punishment for a long season.

“I’m in this game as a player / coach of 42 of my 51 years,” Dragons head coach Rick Hurst said. “I’ll tell you now, mental strength is the most important thing you can have in this game because you’re going to take your body through things you didn’t think were possible. You will be physically defeated in a match, especially towards the end of the season, which you don’t think you will pass to the next training session. ”

“You have to train your mind to realize that the body can take a lot more than my mind can,” Hurst continued. “Once you cross that mental barrier, this game isn’t very difficult.”

The Dragons open their 2021 season on Friday when Haralson County rebels visit Lindale. The start is scheduled for 19:30

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