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Altitude built on attitude at Wooddale

middleschoolfootballby Andre Mitchell
Special to The New Tri-State Defender

This week, The New Tri-State Defender's middle schools spotlight is on Wooddale Middle School, where head coach Danny Pogue and the Eagles have their sights set on a successful season.

Tri-State Defender: What do you expect your team to accomplish this season?

Danny Pogue: I expect this year's squad to bring a championship trophy and plaque back to Wooddale Middle.

TSD: What do you want your players to achieve most?

DP: Ultimately, I want them to graduate high school, pursue a college education and become productive citizens. I also want them to stay committed to excellence in everything that they do!

TSD: Who's your most influential role model?

DP: They came as a "whole village." Coaches Cook, Jennings, Jett, Jones, Harper and Mr. Wilkins all played a major role in my personal and professional development.

TSD: What led you to coaching?

DP: I love the sport. As a former player and fan, the game of football had a strong influenced on my decision to coach.

TSD: What do you find most challenging about coaching?

DP: My most challenging issue with the players is that they are sometimes unaware of what avenues education and sports can pave for them down the road. I want my players to be successful in all they do, but they're young and they don't always understand where I'm trying to take them as a coach. I truly believe you must first reach the students, before you can teach the students. So often my challenge is trying to reach them, then teach them.

TSD: What do you find most rewarding about coaching?

DP: My first reward is seeing them head off to college, but the absolute greatest reward is seeing them as college graduates who have matured into productive and responsible adults.

TSD: What has been one of your more memorable sports-related moments?

DP: Losing a MIAA city championship on the 1-yard line with no time left on the clock was a tough life-lesson, but I learned a lot from that experience and I can honestly say that I will never forget that game, that moment, that feeling, that lesson. Although I don't like losing, oftentimes losing teaches us much more than winning does.

TSD: What words of encouragement do you care to share with us?

DP: One's attitude definitely impacts one's altitude. If your attitude is positive and progressive, you'll go a lot further in life than if you have a negative attitude and outlook.

Player Profiles

Timothy Taylor

Grade: 8th

Position(s): Running back/middle Linebacker

GPA: 2.8

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite teacher: Ms. Joiner (math)

Favorite high school team: Whitehaven (Tigers)

Favorite college team: Univ. of Oregon (Ducks)

Favorite pro: Chris Johnson (Titans)

TSD: What do you want to achieve most?

Timothy Taylor: I want to play in the NFL

TSD: Who's your most influential role model?

My brother (Morris Taylor)

TSD: What do you want to do for a career?

After playing professional football, I want to own an auto repair shop and fix cars and trucks.

Jerry Craine II

Grade: 8th

Position: Quarterback

GPA: 3.75

Favorite subject: Math

Favorite teacher: Ms. Holmes (Teen Living)

Favorite high school: Melrose (Golden Wildcats)

Favorite college team: Clemson (Tigers)

Favorite pro: Michael Vick (Philadelphia Eagles)

TSD: What do you want to achieve most?

Jerry Crain II: I want to go to college and graduate.

TSD: Who's your most influential role model?

JC: Michael Vick.

TSD: What do you want to do for a career?

JC: Become an engineer.

Julian Atkins

Grade: 8th

Position: Center

GPA: 2.6

Favorite subject: Science

Favorite teacher: Ms. Cox (science)

Favorite high school team: Christian Brothers

Favorite college team: Central Michigan

Favorite pro: Clay Matthews

TSD: What do you want to achieve most?

Julian Atkins: I want to become a musician and play the piano.

TSD: Who's your most influential role model?

JA: My mother (Pamela Atkins).

TSD: What do you want to do for a career?

JA: I'm undecided about my professional career; I might go into the field of science or maybe some type of music director.

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