Freshman playing on Varsity: a Blessing, or a Curse?


Aaron Layne

Jake Cook (9) In action against Dublin Scioto. Cook works hard on the North High School Football field to defeat his opponents.

Emily Widman (Senior), Reporter

 There is no one more talked about in every small midwest town than a high school standout varsity football player. The hype surrounding their name is built up all season, until post season playoffs come around, when the team either soars to victory or falls to failure. It doesn’t matter how the team performs, or who caused the end to the team’s season; most times, the blame gets poured onto the ‘rookie freshman’ that ‘shouldn’t have been put on varsity their first year.’

   This infamous character that is rotated as new high school students come in each fall can be a tiring one to take on for a new recruit. This year, Westerville North freshman, Jake Cook, bravely takes on the relentless role for the Warriors, but the stress that comes with the job doesn’t stop Cook from putting himself out on the field every Friday night.

   “Being a freshman on varsity does put pressure on you, but when I step onto the field, the pressure goes away,” said Cook.

   Fellow freshman football player, John Link, understands the pressure taken on if he was ever in a position to play on varsity as a freshman.

   “There would definitely be a lot of pressure… [the members on the varsity team] are great players; I would definitely have a big responsibility,” Link said.

   Cook doesn’t let the stress get the best of him; in fact, he uses it as fuel to the fire.

   “Honestly, the pressure makes me play better,” Cook said.

   “I still have one goal in mind, and it’s what I work on every day to accomplish,” Cook said.

   Bryan Johnson, the head coach WNHS’s Varsity Football team, has recognized Cook’s hard work while having to overcome the pressure of having a breakout first season for North.

   “Jake was treated like everyone else on the team- the best player plays. He had to work his way up to varsity, and eventually worked his way to starting [varsity] for 10 games as a freshman, which is pretty good,” Johnson said. 

   Cook keeps peace of mind despite all of the stress by simply keeping his eye on the prize.

   “The thing that motivates me is my dreams and accomplishing them,” said Cook.