Varsity vs. Pros

Drew Pedersen

  “Last Friday, Xavier Wade really put his team on his back against East Kentwood. His performance reminded me of A.J. Green last week. His speed and hands were outstanding,” Sr. Black Hole leader Nolan Eccker said. The West Ottawa varsity football team has many talented players that have similar playing styles to NFL players. Xavier Wade, Sean Hoey, and Brian Johnson are just three players who are high school replicas of NFL players.

  Wade, West Ottawa varsity football receiver, plays very similar to A.J. Green, NFL receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. First, Green and Wade are probably their teams best and most known players, simply because of their athleticism and number of yards. They are also similar physically. Both Green and Wade are tall, topping off at 6’4. Green is also five inches taller than the average corner in the NFL. Not to mention, both Green and Wade are the main target on their team. Green had a 227 yard game against the Ravens last year which is similar to Wade’s 248 yards in his game against Caledonia. In both games, Wade and Green were responsible for carrying the team’s receiving yards. Experts claim that Green is very good at making the right cuts at the right time. Wade is very capable of making great cuts as well, especially in his game against Caledonia, where almost all of his receiving yards were after the catch. He made several cutbacks in order to elude the defense and eventually score. Furthermore, multiple NFL cornerbacks said that Green is one of the best in the league with his hands. They find Green exceptionally better at controlling the ball and getting around defenders. Sr. varsity quarterback Sean Hoey also said Wade was good with his hands. Along with his exceptional hands, Wade is shifty and therefore records many yards after catch. In his 248 yard game, almost every one of his catches was off of bubble screens where Wade used his athleticism to gain several yards after each catch. In the same way, AJ Green is also very good at earning yards after the catch.  For example, Green is seventh among all wide receivers and running backs in yards after catch so far this NFL season.  Wade and Green are very similar in their styles as receivers, however, they play in two very different leagues.

  Sr. Sean Hoey, West Ottawa varsity quarterback, is very similar to Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints quarterback. Both Brees and Hoey are short in comparison to the players in their league. Brees stands at 6’0 which is very short in comparison to the offensive lineman, whose average height is 6’5. Similar to Brees, Sean Hoey stands at 5’10 and is short for the high school level. Brees and Hoey have the disadvantage of having to constantly try to look over the offensive line. This makes their job much harder, but more impressive that they still achieve success despite their height. In addition, both Hoey and Brees are not the running type. They prefer to stay in the pocket and look for their best option to throw. The two quarterbacks have the ability to throw for many yards. Hoey was able to throw for 402 yards against Caledonia. Brees has also had several 400+ yard pass games. Brees is very good at picking apart defenses by having great vision and knowing when to throw the ball. In addition, Brees has a very big arm, meaning he can throw for long distances. Similar to Brees, Hoey also has a very good arm and very decisive in his pass selections. Hoey tends to throw the easier and shorter pass than risk the longer routes. Although Hoey does throw 60-70 yard passes, most of the yardage gained is from after the catch on the shorter routes.

Jr. Bryan Johnson, West Ottawa varsity defensive tackle, is very similar to Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots defensive tackle, in both his physical attributes and his role on the team. Vince Wilfork weighs in at 330 pounds which is almost 30 pounds larger than the average defensive lineman in the NFL. Johnson weighs in at 320 pounds which is much larger than the average high school defensive lineman making him a huge target to block. Johnson is surprisingly athletic for his size. Although he may be 315, he still manages to get off of the ball fast and use his momentum to drive offensive lineman back. Similar to Johnson, Wilfork is athletic for his size. Wilfork has a similar job for the Patriots as Johnson does for the Panthers. Wilfork’s job is to simply push the offensive line back as far as possible to disrupt the offense. Both Johnson and Wilfork are quite good at their position. Due to Johnson’s size, not many high school offensive lineman are able to push or stop a 315 pound man. Although it might be easier for an offensive lineman in the NFL to stop or slow Wilfork, it is much easier said than done. Overall, Wilfork and Johnson share many similar physical qualities and have a similar playing style.  

Come to the home varsity football game this Friday at 7:00 to watch these players along with others prove their skills against Jenison.