Sports

Mount Si football players give back as mentors

Mount Si High School players join members of the Sophomore White youth team, learning together in the Junior Buddies football program. Pictured are, from left, back row, Connor Deutsch, Jarrett Adams, Ian Ilgenfritz, Ben Mayfield, Jordan Karavias, Eli Mayfield, Zach Frederick, Brian Ruhland, AJ Brevick; middle row, Caleb Mitchell, Christian Duvall, Jake Karavias, Logan Langsetch, Alex Nelson, Jacob Wachtendonk, Jack Weidenbach; front row, Thomas Campbell, Connor Beamer, Logan Roy, Gunnar Harrison and Adam Taylor. - Courtesy photo
Mount Si High School players join members of the Sophomore White youth team, learning together in the Junior Buddies football program. Pictured are, from left, back row, Connor Deutsch, Jarrett Adams, Ian Ilgenfritz, Ben Mayfield, Jordan Karavias, Eli Mayfield, Zach Frederick, Brian Ruhland, AJ Brevick; middle row, Caleb Mitchell, Christian Duvall, Jake Karavias, Logan Langsetch, Alex Nelson, Jacob Wachtendonk, Jack Weidenbach; front row, Thomas Campbell, Connor Beamer, Logan Roy, Gunnar Harrison and Adam Taylor.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Mount Si football players are giving back to the community and helping the future of the game in the process.

The high school program and the Wildcat Junior youth football organization have partnered up to re-start the Junior Buddy program. Junior Buddies pairs members of the high school team with players ages 7 to 14 from the Wildcat Junior Football Association. High school players help at practice, mentor and support young players both individually and as a team at games and off the field.

The program was first formed several years ago, but took last season off so it could reorganize and improve.

The experience can be rewarding for both sides, according to WJFA vice president Chuck Weidenbach.

“My son Jack had a very good experience with (then-Mount Si varsity player) Zach Brevick,” he said. “Two years ago, when the buddy program was officially still on, Zach and (Jack) went to Seahawk games; Jack went to basketball games that Zach played in, and they talked a lot. It meant a lot to Jack, looking up to Zach.”

For Mount Si coach Charlie Kinnune, Junior Buddies help teach his players valuable life lessons.

“It’s why we do it,” he said. “We are so lucky and so blessed to live in the community we live in.

“We feel very humbled to have the support of the little league coaches and the little league program,” Kinnune added. “I just preach to my kids to always pay back to the community that supports us so well.

Junior Buddies also helps players, educationally.

“We want to work really hard at promoting academics,” said Kinune, who teaches social studies at Mount Si. “We make sure that our high school kids talk to the little kids about getting things done in the classroom. That’s important.”

“It’s good for the high school kids,” Weidenbach said. “It’s good for them for community service, they develop relationships outside of just playing the game. For the little guys, it’s to look up to these big guys and give them the desire to stick with it and stick to the program.”

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