Q: Along with Joshua Andrew-Parker, you inspired and managed the revitalization of the Columtreal University football program. What drove you to achieve that?
A: The people of Hathian. I know it may sound trite. But when I came to this town, I immediately felt it had desperate need for help and an intense drive to help itself. All that was missing was something to rally around. Next door in New Orleans, the Saints brought the spirits of the city back to its feet after Katrina. That hadn’t happened yet here in Hathian. I wanted to be a part of making it happen. Football is what I know. So I set about getting to work. I can’t say I was surprised that good men like Michiaki Yamaguchi, Hayden Grimm and Seth Vond stepped up right away to join Josh and I. But I do have to say, I’m blessed.
Q: The winning record of the Looters, even in Division III, was a surprise to many. You finished 9-3, and are moving on to Division I, SEC. How’d it happen?
A: Loyalty. Above all, loyalty and brotherhood. Yeah, we had a lot more grit than most teams. Credit needs to be given where credit’s due. Seth played through a lot of pain and brought in a near-perfect season. Mich got that yards-after-contact record by being a fighter. Leon Acosta, Hayden Grimm and Garrett Zero all had to strap on the pads and hit the field while hurt. Scott Samson, Garret, Nick, Omizu and Josh put some serious fear in opposing teams. They took hard hits and always pushed themselves. But it was the quality I saw when we were at our worst that mattered most. The worth of the team came out when one of us fell. When that man couldn’t go on. The others were there to pick him up. Mich and Nick did for me. Leon, especially, is an inspiration. So, being able to depend on each other is what made us get this team up from being buried and to get to the top of the pile. Above all our other qualities, it was our loyalty that made us winners.
Q: Well, your program recently released Michiaki Yamaguchi. He was an elite running back who brought the eye of the SEC, and he’s been cut for reasons the program’s not releasing. Where’s the loyalty there?
A: Mich is not only a great football player, he’s also a good man. He was, many times, our spirit. Certainly, mine. I think he lost sight of that some times. Sight of how much we valued him. The team had to part with him because of matters we’d prefer to keep private. There’s no ill will. Only gratitude. I believe he knows I – we – will miss him like the brother he is. I hope he does.
Q: You were outstanding on the field at times as well. Your performance against the Delgado Cowboys was Game of the Week and has been spoken of as Game of the Year for your Division. How would you describe your play style?
A: Reckless. No, that’s how Coach would describe my play style. I would describe it as determined. I do what’s necessary to get the job done. If that means I have to scramble, stiff-arm some guys and end up with a mask full of turf, I do it. If it means I have to draw two linebackers in, get plastered, to dump the ball off to Angel or Mich on an option, I do it. If I have to throw 350 yards, I do it. It’s like Nick Vond says: It’s all about the win.
Q: Do you think you’re going to have much of a shot for a winning season against Division I SEC teams, like Alabama, LSU and Georgia?
A: I have no doubt we will. We don’t let up. Ever. We’re going to be driving as hard in the off-season as we did in the season. We’ll train hard. Recruit hard men. Test them. Test ourselves. Every day. No breaks. Looters go all out, together, so that we’re ready when our shot at victory comes. We take pride in that. We live by it.
Q: You currently live with the Columtreal cheer captain, Jessi Rembrandt. Does your close relationship help better the program?
A: Definitely. Jessi inspired me to lead the program’s revival. She held an outreach to the local youth shelter from the Columtreal cheer squad. I first met her there. It gave me a chance to see what this community was capable of when it came together. It made me into a believer. Gave me a sense of mission. And she does that for me every day. She inspires me. Her spirit, most of all, is an example of burning brightest to spite darkness. I wish everyone could know someone like her. And, like any member of the Looters, she lifts me up when I stumble. Considering how often I do, I don’t know what I’d do without her, not only as my girl, but as my partner in the program.
Q: You often speak publicly about this concept of ‘family’ and a ‘Looter Nation’. Do you think that’s superficial, or do you feel the men on your program share that ideal?
A: I feel they share that. I hope they do. I feel those that don’t, go elsewhere. I know that I hope to make every man – and this whole town – believe in it, and in what it can achieve. Because I know when we’ve been at our best, it’s because that principle is in our hearts. And when we’re at our worst, it’s when one of us has lost sight of it. It’s our survival.