By Tommy Keeler Jr. -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- Erik Bearer can't talk about football without a smile coming across his face.
The James Wood senior had an older brother who played at James Wood, and has two younger brothers who are already playing the game. It's a sport that's been in his family, and one that he has a real passion for.
"I watch a lot of football," Bearer said. "It's always on in my house. Football's my life."
Bearer said it's actually the passion that everyone plays with that he loves most about the game.
Bearer started on the offensive line at the varsity level for the first time last year and had a very successful year. Bearer was a second team all-Northwestern District selection.
The 5-foot-11 Bearer said he loves playing on the offensive line.
"Playing on the line's great," Bearer said. "You always get to go hit somebody. You're always aggressive and get to make plays."
Bearer said another great aspect of playing on the offensive line is getting a pancake block, which he compared to a running back getting a touchdown.
"That's one thing I always try to aim for -- is to get a pancake," Bearer said. "That's our stats on the offensive line. I get excited when I get one. That's like a running back scoring a touchdown. You just get excited, like 'yeah, let's go.'"
The running backs, quarterbacks and wide receivers get most of the glory in football, but Bearer said that's fine with him. He said he just enjoys being able to help his team out in any way possible.
Bearer also plays on the defensive line, where he started some last year for the Colonels as well. He said playing on both sides of the line helps in understanding what your opponent is trying to do.
"It just helps me scheme-wise and technique-wise to know what I got to do," Bearer said.
Bearer said he began wrestling last year, and felt like it's helped his game on the football field.
James Wood coach Mike Bolin said he couldn't ask for a better role model for the younger players.
"He's the hardest worker we've got," Bolin said. "He's our best offensive and defensive lineman. He leads by example. The kids really follow him, because he's not somebody that just runs his mouth and tries to be a leader by saying things, he does it by example. He's the first lineman in sprints as it finishes. He's the first guy in line every time. He wants the most reps. He wants the most work. He pushes himself so far beyond what you really think a guy his size could do."
He is one of 17 seniors, but Bolin said Bearer is also the most vocal player on the team. Bearer said he is trying to be a great leader this year for the younger players.
"It's my senior year, I've got to take everybody under my belt," Bearer said. "I've got to lead them out, lead them off the field. Hopefully, we'll play well and win some games."
Bearer said that he's always watching the game and trying to learn from what he sees. He said he loves the Washington Redskins, and London Fletcher is his favorite player.
However, Bearer said if Robert Griffin III can help the team win 10 games this year, he may have a new favorite.
Bearer said he is hoping to play in college, but for now he's focused on helping the Colonels have a strong season. Last year the Colonels went 4-7, losing in the first round of the playoffs. Bearer said he's confident that his team will be successful.
"We're a hard-working bunch," Bearer said. "We're hard-nosed guys. We don't like getting pushed around. We want to have a winning season. We want to make the playoffs and get a few wins in the playoffs.
"I think we can be pretty good."