With their high schools just a mere eight miles apart, Hudson’s Brian
Winters and Walsh Jesuit’s Brian Smith stand just as close on the
football field, representing the United States in the offensive
trenches in the Junior World Championships.
With their high schools just a mere eight miles apart, Hudson’s Brian Winters and Walsh Jesuit’s Brian Smith stand just as close on the football field, representing the United States in the offensive trenches in the Junior World Championships.
Winters stands 6-foot-5, 310 pounds and starts for Team USA while the 6-foot-7, 277-pound Smith is one of the top reserves. Both have helped pave the way for 626 rushing yards with 1,043 total yards of offense in two wins where the U.S. beat France and Mexico by a combined score of 133-0.
“It’s been a lot of fun because you’re dominating people on every single play,” said Smith. “We’ve gelled phenomenally.”
“We’re pretty new to each other but it’s really nice to gel in such a short period of time,” said Winters. “The points are going up pretty easy so far but we’re working really hard. After practice we’ll stay longer, we’ll work hard at it and we won’t settle for anything. We always want to get better.”
Winters, who is headed to Kent State in the Fall, said he’s honored to be starting for his country.
“It’s been great,” he added. “All the players here are definitely very good. If you just work real hard and work real hard at it and you stick it out a little more than some of the other ones, good things can happen.”
Smith said he can’t believe he’s wearing Team USA’s letters on his chest.
“It’s indescribable, there really are no words you can use to describe this,” said Smith, who is headed to Northwestern. “I’m lucky enough that the good lord blessed me with the ability to come out here and represent my country.
“I think everyone’s greatest dream is to represent their country and to be able to play on this stage, it wasn’t even a thought that went into it.”
And what about any Big Ten banter between players from Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Wisconsin or Smith’s future home, Northwestern?
“I think we’re all so focused on the here and now and winning the gold on Sunday that it’s not really in our minds,” Smith said. “College is then and this is now. We just want that gold.”