Player's Diary #8: Andrew Weininger

Badger commit Andrew Weininger talks about one of the most satisfying victories of his career, as Harrison gets ready for the playoffs. This column was written for The Journal News, a Gannett newspaper in Westchester County, NY. Weininger has been kind enough to share his columns with Badger Nation.

Last Saturday brought back memories of the Rye- Harrison games I had watched as a kid. The weather was overcast, cool and rainy, the traditional football weather for the November editions of past Rye- Harrison games. You could feel the electricity in the air on both sides of the field. Five thousand screaming fans, marching bands, police escorts for both teams. Everyone was fired up.

It is an understatement to say that I was really pumped for this game. But I was also a little sentimental. This was the last time I would experience "Rye Week", the pep rally, the bonfire and most of all "the game."

I am very, very excited about playing Big Ten football for the Wisconsin Badgers next year, but I truly love being a Harrison Husky. And senior year is special. I have been close friends with my teammates my entire life and we have really bonded into a family. At most we have six weeks left together and that's if we make it to the Carrier Dome, so we are fighting not only to win a state title but also because we don't want to see our high school football careers end.

I was very emotional right before the game. A lot of players were. As we left the locker room and boarded the bus after Coach Troilo spoke I was all choked up. I thought of how playing for Harrison in this game was a very special experience for me, and a game that I will remember for a long time. And I thought about how happy Rob Viscome, my late teammate, was after we beat Rye last year, probably one of the happiest times of his short life.

The mile ride from Harrison High down Union Avenue to Feeley Field felt like it took forever. I was so excited to get to the field. Normally, the crowd fills in as the game goes along. But when we arrived there were already a lot of people there. After getting off the bus, we walked through a shoot of Harrison fans cheering and yelling words of encouragement, then finally out onto the field.

We played as good a game as we could have hoped for. Everything went our way. The offense continued to move the ball consistently and the defense shut down Rye's potent passing attack. It was just one of those games where everything clicked.

Rye has a very good football team, I think that the ball just bounced our way on Saturday. So we are a little worried about a possible rematch with Rye in the playoffs. They could easily put things together, step it up a notch, and play us much tougher in a few weeks. Regardless, Rye is a young and talented team and they will be very good next year.

Now that the regular season is over, we are entering our second season, the playoffs. We accomplished everything we hoped to accomplish in the regular season. We successfully defended our league title, we won "the game" and we assured home field advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs. We didn't go undefeated, but I am now convinced that we turned our loss to Rondout Valley in week one into a positive. We realized that we had a lot of work to do. And did we work. From that game on we continued to improve each week. You want to peak in the playoffs and I think that we are in very good shape heading into the sectional quarter- finals.

The Mello family and Rye High School were very generous to include Harrison in the Chris Mello Memorial Scholarship. I read a lot about Chris and he was an extraordinary human being. What a huge loss his tragic passing on 9/11 was to his family and to our communities. I am so proud to have my name associated with his. After what the Mello's have been through, to come back and put together such an inspiring award is very impressive and shows a lot their character and Chris's.

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