Do you want to understand the definition of focus during the humidity of mid-summer?
Look no further than Winton Woods senior quarterback Sean Steele.
Winton Woods coach Andre Parker refers to his quarterback as relentless, and it’s easy to see why during an intense June workout at a park by the high school.
“This is one of the hardest workouts we did,” Steele said. “But we have to come together as a team – as brothers and as a family.”
Steele has laser-sharp eye contact when asked about the Warriors this summer. He understands his duties as the quarterback and says he was born to be in this position.
“It’s a big responsibility,” Steele said. “I am not just the leader of the offense. I am the leader of the whole team. I have to lead by example.”
The Warriors (9-3) lost 24 seniors from a year ago. But the talent pool runs deep. And the hunger is ever present.
Steele said the players have to want success more than the coaches. Winton Woods plays host to Princeton at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 29 in the season opener.
Depth, athleticism and improved communication have been the early signs of a good summer, says senior running back/slot Christian Lumpkin.
Winton Woods lost three games by a total of eight points in 2013 and was a Division II regional semifinalist. That’s not good enough in Forest Park.
“It stings a lot,” senior linebacker David Long said of 2013. “We talk about it every day.”
Making it to state every year is the goal.
Offensively, Lumpkin has Mid-American Conference offers and will be a key player. There is also junior running back Jalen Lumpkin, senior running back Marcus Davis and sophomore running back Terrence Smith.
Receivers include juniors Zack Exallus and Lonnell McConnell. Offensive lineman/athlete George Brown Jr. is verbally committed to Florida this summer at a news conference.
Long’s offers include Lousville, Missouri, Illinois, UC, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and MAC schools.
Long says he’s improved as a leader from a year ago and wants to build upon that.
“It means a lot,” Long said. “It’s going to be a lot of weight on my shoulders.”
Senior safety Chaz Lumpkin, senior defensive back Devin Booker (Lakota West transfer), junior defensive end Rodney Croom (offer from UC), sophomore defensive lineman Jarron Cage (Daniel Cage’s younger brother), senior defensive lineman Lance Johnson and junior defensive lineman Alex Parker are among other players to watch. ■
• Division: II
• Coach: Andre Parker (35-14)
• 2013 record: 9-3
• Players to watch: Senior QB Sean Steele, senior RB/slot Christian Lumpkin, junior RB Jalen Lumpkin, junior RB David Keeling, sophomore RB Terrence Smith, senior LB David Long, senior LB David Sparks, junior LB Kwamane Watson, junior Zack Exallus, junior WR Lonnell McConnell, senior S Chaz Lumpkin, senior DB Devin Booker, junior DE Rodney Croom, sophomore DL Jarron Cage, senior DL Lance Johnson, junior DL Alex Parker, senior OL Noah Listerman, senior OL George Brown Jr.
• Outlook: The Warriors are hungry to get the season started. A regional semifinalist a year ago, the Warriors lost three games by a total of eight points. Winton Woods lost 24 seniors but there is plenty of talent this August. Listerman is verbally committed to Michigan State. Long has several significant offers. Brown is verbally committed to Florida. Steele says the team has to want to win more than the coaches and he likes the work ethic this summer. “We have a lot of people who are going to give it their all,” Long said.