Pawhuska High School immediate and future football success might be imbedded in its infusion of young players.
Sophomore-to-be Hunter Reed is one of those.
The versatile warrior — who is spending part of his summer playing Bartlesville American Legion 17-U baseball — gained some rugged but high-priced experience during his freshman year on the gridiron.
“It was tough,” he admitted about the 2016 campaign. “I had a lot of inexperience. There’s a lot of pressure playing as a freshman on varsity. You get thrown in there and try to do your best.”
Reed his Huskie players are determined to make last year’s 2-7 mark just a bad nightmare and to turn 2017 into a new dawning of competitive audacity at Pawhuska.
Reed will don only one helmet — but could wear multiple hats.
He potentially could split time at defensive end, linebacker and ball carrier.
He believes he and his fellow sophomores — as well as incoming freshmen — are willing to carry more than their share of the load.
“We’re there and we’re ready to work,” said Reed. “I think we’re going to help our team. … I think there’s a lot more people committed (than last season) and they just want to be a part of the team. I think they’re doing a good job of buying in. I think we’ll have a little more success.”
Reed said he feels confident that be time he’s a senior and the current crop of freshmen are juniors, “we’ll really do some damage. I think we’ll do well this season and have a good shot of being successful in the future.”
It might all begin with muscle — an area of focus endorsed heavily by second-year head coach Joe Tillman.
“I think we’re going to be stronger on the football team — physically stronger,” Reed said. “We have been hitting it hard in the weightroom. … Physically I’m in really good shape. I think I’ll perform a lot better this year, physically and speedwise. I’m ready to get out there and get after it.”
Meanwhile, Reed also is enjoying the summer hours spent on the baseball diamond with the Bartlesville United Linen Braves.
“I’m just getting my reps in and getting experience for (Huskie) baseball,” Reed said. “I really enjoy them both, football and baseball.”
Reed comes by his playing instincts naturally.
“I’m blessed to be in an athletic family,” he said. “My grandpa played at Pawhuska and my dad is from Shidler, where he played sports.”
Other relatives also put in distinguished athletic careers in high school, he added.
Now it’s Reed’s turn — and he’s preparing rigorously to be a vital part in new era in Huskie sports.