By Jeff Nations
Sherando High School's Patrick Minteer and Christian Farris already share a tangible bond on the football field.
Every snap that Minteer takes as the Warriors' new starting quarterback will be delivered by Farris, who has slid over from tackle to center this season. Fans can see that tangible connection first-hand on Friday night when Sherando opens its season with a road game at Musselman (W.Va.).
But Minteer and Farris have something else in common that doesn't show up on the field -- both are sons of current Sherando assistant coaches.
That's a common thread, but the experiences Minteer and Farris have had being coached by their fathers haven't been so similar.
Christian Farris, whose dad Tim Farris coaches him directly on both the offensive and defensive lines, has a long history of working directly with his father. They've got the whole give-and-take relationship down pat, with neither afraid to clearly state their point of view during practice, on the sideline every Friday night, or just about anywhere else.
Patrick Minteer gets a different, less hands-on approach from his father John Minteer. For one thing, John Minteer coaches running backs and linebackers and so doesn't directly coach his son. That's by design.
"I've sat back and watched other parents coach their children, and it's always been difficult for me to sit there and take that perspective," John Minteer said. "Plus he plays a position that I've never coached before, so it's easy for me to take a back-seat to that. When I first came here I told coach Hall that I wanted Patrick to be coached by him or whoever his position coach was with no interference from me. It's up to him to earn his position."
John Minteer developed that parenting philosophy by patterning after his father, Jim, who coached him growing up.
"I've always wanted to be the same kind of father to him," Minteer said. "My dad coached me in everything, from football to baseball and everything like that, but he kept an even keel. He never wanted to hammer it home, so when we were at home he never gave me anything extra. He let me suffer the losses and he let me celebrate the wins. So he shielded me from a lot of things, and that's what I've tried to do with him."
Patrick Minteer, a rising junior, said the football talk has increased around the house this year as he prepares to try and lead the Warriors back to the Group 4A state playoffs. Mostly, it's encouragement and reminders that anything worth doing is worth doing well. As for the Xs and Os, John Minteer leaves that to Sherando coach Bill Hall.
"He doesn't really get into all that," Patrick Minteer said. "That's mostly me, mentally checking myself. If I don't mentally do it right, then he steps in to help me."
John Minteer admits that it will be a big moment the first time his son makes a play for Sherando -- hopefully on Friday at Musselman's Waldeck Field. Jim Minteer passed away last year, and Patrick wears a tag on the back of his helmet displaying his grandfather's initials.
"When that first big play comes, it will be very special," Minteer said.
PASSING MARKS: Hall was pleased with the progress he saw in his team from the first scrimmage against Eastern View to the next against Loudoun Valley, both wins by the Warriors.
"I thought we did a good job of improving from the week before," Hall said. "We're not trying to judge ourselves based on whether we won the scrimmage or not. We can lose by 35, if we're executing and we're just working on stuff, and we'd be OK with that."
Specifically, Hall was encouraged by increased intensity his team showed in its final tune-up against Loudoun Valley.
"I think physicality on the line of scrimmage, and tackling," Hall said. "Going from the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage, that was a huge point of emphasis for us and I thought we did a better job being physical with our tackles, gang-tackling and everybody flying to the ball."
MOUNTAIN HOME?: Sherando will embark on its now customary swing through West Virginia' Eastern Panhandle with Friday's road game at Musselman's Waldeck Field. Sherando has long scheduled many of those nearby border rivals for logistical and competitive reasons, enough that the Warriors probably deserve honorary consideration in that state's high school football poll.
"We think it makes sense, just from a location standpoint," Hall said. "All of those schools are a half-hour away, they have good fan support, so traveling for our fans and traveling for their fans, it's a good gate. It's easy travel for us, and we're still getting big points when we go up across the border. We always look at the points, that's important to us, so it just makes sense."
Sherando heads to West Virginia state power Martinsburg in Week 2, then hosts Washington in the third week before finally facing in-state opponent Kettle Run on Sept. 19. Then it's one more West Virginia opponent when Jefferson visits Stephens City on Sept. 26.
With another cycle of scheduling currently in the works, some of those opponents could change. Hall is fine playing nearly half his regular-season schedule against out-of-state opposition, especially when it's so close.
"We'd like to," Hall said. "Sometimes people don't always match up with our likes, so we'll just have to see how that plays out. We'd like to play those guys again."