Behind the scenes, Killer Bs help Pats excel

Herald file photo
Heritage Hills’ Kolton Brown cheers from the Heritage Hills' sideline this season as the Patriots battle Jasper. Brown and fellow seniors Zach Braun and Chris Barboza are collectively known as the Killer Bs, backing up the team's starters on the defensive line.

By JONATHAN SAXON
jsaxon@dcherald.com

LINCOLN CITY — When it comes to football — and team sports everywhere — everyone contributes toward the same goal, but not everyone contributes in the same way. There are only so many positions players can occupy on the football field, and not everyone is going to get guaranteed playing time.

Barboza

Every team needs guys who, despite not being starters, come to practice ready to work toward making their teammates better in whatever way they can. That could mean giving the starters good looks on the scout team, or being ready to be called in to give the starters a break.

To that end, meet Heritage Hills seniors Zach Braun, Chris Barboza and Kolton Brown, or as they're known among their teammates, the Killer Bs.

“We’ve always gone in together,” Braun said. “Originally, we called ourselves the Three Bs, and coach came up with the name Killer Bs. He was trying to figure out a name to call us and decided that would be the best thing to call us all in at the same time so he wouldn’t have to call us each individually.”

All three play on the defensive line for the Patriots, and while they may not get as much attention as the starters, they are proud of the role they fulfill for the team. Being reserve linemen, most of their work revolves around mimicking the opposing line during practice so that the starters can prepare for what they’ll face come Game Day. Patriots coach Todd Wilkerson said every team needs kids like the Killer Bs to make it through a season, and believes their efforts in practice going against the first-string guys is integral to the team growing and realizing its full potential.

Braun

“It’s great to see kids stick with a sport even if they don’t get to play as much as they want to. But they’re here in practice every day,” he said. “They’ve bought into our goals as a team. They don’t worry about themselves. They’re just here to make us better.”

There are some kids who would probably complain and use the fact that they don’t play as much as some as a means of fostering division amongst the players. However, for the Killer Bs, the goal of winning is bigger than their individual egos, and they take pride in working hard at practice to make sure the team can be as successful as possible during the fall. That idea has led them to a semi-state berth, and they’re more than happy to go along for the ride.

“It’s fun practicing and showing the starters a really good look,” Barboza said. “As long as we get the W at the end of the day, I’m happy with it.”

“We just love being part of a team,” Brown added. “It’s not about starting or being out there. Just being on the sideline cheering our team on, going through practice and helping them out, it’s what we like to do. We get an opportunity to be part of this, and it’s pretty cool.”

Wilkerson said the contributions by the Killer Bs extend further than just going against the starters in practice. Their dedication is an example to the younger players of what it means to be a great teammate.

“When you have guys that think they deserve more and they start griping about it, it does cause division,” he said. “These guys don’t do that. They support the team. They do whatever they can to help us get better, and the other guys see that. Leading by example, they’re showing our younger kids, ‘This is how you do it.’”

The casual fan may not know them, but the Killer Bs are proud of the work they’ve put in and how it’s contributed to the success the Patriots are experiencing this season. When it’s all said and done, they hope that they’ll be seen as an example of players who came in, did their jobs and left their teams in a better position because of their efforts.

“I hope they keep the energy up and come out every week to give 100% of what they have for that game,” Braun said. “I hope they play as hard as they can, and in practice make sure to give everything they have to make sure everyone can get as good as they can.”

“I hope each player knows they have a role to help the team win at the end of the week,” Barboza added. “They just have to learn to keep their heads up, no matter how many plays they get each week.”




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