Blue Devil water boys upholding the tradition

Junior high payers fill the role and eventually rise to varsity status

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Blue Devil water boys upholding the tradition

Ethan McGee (18) was once a varsity water boy. Now, junior high players like Lincoln Boyer (left) and Owen Shedlock (right) have filled the role, hoping to one day make it to the varsity level.

Ethan McGee (18) was once a varsity water boy. Now, junior high players like Lincoln Boyer (left) and Owen Shedlock (right) have filled the role, hoping to one day make it to the varsity level.

Phoebe Potter

Ethan McGee (18) was once a varsity water boy. Now, junior high players like Lincoln Boyer (left) and Owen Shedlock (right) have filled the role, hoping to one day make it to the varsity level.

Phoebe Potter

Phoebe Potter

Ethan McGee (18) was once a varsity water boy. Now, junior high players like Lincoln Boyer (left) and Owen Shedlock (right) have filled the role, hoping to one day make it to the varsity level.

Julian Bartlebaugh, Staff Writer

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Go back five years and you would see current Bellwood-Antis stars Jarrett Taneyhill and Ethan McGee running around Memorial Stadium on Friday nights as water boys for the football team.

Flash forward to today and they are the senior leaders of a 4-1 team that is trending upward.

“Being a water boy was a very cool experience.  At the time it meant a lot to be on the field with the older kids that I looked up to,” said Jarrett. “It also gave me a little bit of a sneak peek as to how varsity was different from junior high.”

Knowing the amount of good players that were water boys in junior high gives me the drive and desire to be as good of a player as those players were.”

— Jackson Boyer

Not every football team does this, but it’s kind of a tradition now at B-A, and every year the junior high coaches ask the ninth grade team members to be water boys for the varsity. Often the average water boy is looked at like the kid who couldn’t make the team, but in Bellwood it’s more of an honor passed down through generations of players who frequently grow into upcoming stars.

The players still play junior high football games and enjoy all the experiences of junior high, but on Friday nights they are out there on the field helping out the team.

“Knowing the amount of good players that were water boys in junior high gives me the drive and desire to be as good of a player as those players were,” said freshman Jackson Boyer.

Junior high coach Mr. Charlie Burch, who noted that the water boys are often relatives of coaches who can make practices consistently, said the program has been fortunate to have some good water boys who became good players.

“Being a water boy is a job that many players want to be a part of with the varsity. We have lucked out and those guys all become pretty solid players at B-A,” said Coach Burch.

Water boys past and present agreed that being on the sidelines a year or so early is a big learning experience.

“By being a water boy, one can learn a lot.  I have seen the teamwork and the relationships that are built out of the football team,” said freshman Lincoln Boyer. “It encourages me to strive to be like (the varsity).”

Jarrett Taneyhill (7), the current varsity starter at quarterback, was once in the shoes of Jackson Boyer, a ninth grader who is a water boy for the varsity.

Ali Wagner
Jarrett Taneyhill (7), the current varsity starter at quarterback, was once in the shoes of Jackson Boyer, a ninth grader who is a water boy for the varsity.

Trevor Miller, the junior high quarterback, has been doing water boy duties for basically his entire Bellwood-Antis football career, starting out  with current varsity players Shawn Wolfe and Troy Walker.

“Coach Burch had asked me to be a water boy in 7th grade,” said Trevor.

Coach Burch said the older players look out for the water boys.

“The varsity takes them under their wings like little brothers,” he said. “The older guys know these junior high guys are the future. Some of them did the same just a couple of years ago.”

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