Senior guides team with experience, leadership
With the regular season behind them, the football team looks to head into the playoffs with momentum. Perhaps no one is better prepared to lead the team into a successful postseason than senior, team captain and quarterback Tyler Villines.
For as long as his parents can remember, Villines has been interested in sports. Hope Villines, Tyler’s mom, loves watching her son play sports.
“Tyler has been throwing a football around with his dad since before he could walk,” Hope said. “One of his first words was ‘touchdown’. Tyler wasn’t even two years old and he could throw a ball across the entire nursery at church. Tyler has always loved every sport. He played soccer at three years old, t-ball at five and football at ten. He hasn’t stopped since.”
Tyler Villines, the quarterback for the Eagles, has competed on the team all four years of high school and is looking for a strong finish to his high school football career. He enjoys the fellowship that comes along with the sport.
“What comes with football that is so amazing is I feel like it is bigger and better than any other sport in the sense of brotherhood that comes with the gridiron way of playing it,” Villines said. “As a quarterback, I am constantly being protected by my line and in turn, it creates a bond between us.
“Even if I don’t realize it, even though I’m not the biggest,” Villines continued. “There are going to be people who are looking up to me because I’m a senior and because of my experience, and in turn they are going to look to me for encouragement and success.”
Villines was first put in as the quarterback during his sophomore year. He went in during the fourth quarter with only a minute and thirty seconds left in the game. Despite being down by eight points when he entered the game, Villines was able to rally the Eagles to come back for the win. Since that point, Villines has started as the Eagles’ quarterback.
Villines continues to improve and grow as a team leader throughout each game. Head coach Russ Counts appreciates Villines’ attitude and determination when playing football.
My freshmen year I looked up to the seniors, no matter if they were a captain or not. I looked to them as leaders and I was always wishing one day I was going to be as good as them. What comes with leadership, is you grow in patience and you understand that people who are younger aren’t going to get it as fast. Also, you have to learn to be encouraging even in the tough situations. — Tyler Villines
“Early on Tyler, like many, had a reservation about trying different things,” Counts said. “However, Tyler is now the man who is a total team player and is willing to try whatever he is asked to try. What makes Tyler good at quarterback is his versatility. He can run, throw, lead and misdirect other teams. Quarterback is the position where the player must be calm and in control and Tyler has grown into one of the best.”
Fellow co-captain and friend Roman Endicott, ‘18, appreciates the energy and leadership that Villines brings to the team.
“My favorite part of having Tyler as a teammate is the dynamic he brings to the team,” Endicott said. “He is full of energy and always brings a sense of lightheartedness when needed but is able to buckle down when necessary. My favorite memory is probably when he threw me a beautiful touchdown pass in our game versus Big Valley this year. Tyler has grown exponentially throughout these past four years both in his speed and strength as well as his ability to lead the team spiritually.”
While many look up to him now, Villines remembers the days when he was a freshman looking up to the seniors. He wanted to be someone the underclassmen could look up to as a positive role model.
“My freshmen year I looked up to the seniors, no matter if they were a captain or not,” Villines said. “I looked to them as leaders and I was always wishing one day I was going to be as good as them. What comes with leadership, is you grow in patience, and you understand that people who are younger aren’t going to get it as fast.
“Also, you have to learn to be encouraging even in the tough situations,” Villines continued. “I feel like God has really blessed me with the opportunity to understand that becoming great takes time and it’s not just going to happen all of a sudden.”
Villines is involved in many other activities on campus besides football. He is a part of the worship team and also plays baseball and basketball for the Eagles. Villines was also crowned homecoming king this year. He hopes to attend a Christian college and major in worship ministry to pursue a career as a worship leader.
Although he has already had his senior night, students can still watch Villines and the other seniors take the football team at their home playoff game likely against Riverdale Christian at the FC stadium, Nov. 9.
For more profiles, read PROFILE: Celeste Counts excels as libero on volleyball team. For more articles, check out Bellezza returns from Westmont Festival with new experiences.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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