It takes champions to win championships.
Washburn football is well on its way when it received a letter of intent from Silver Lake High School senior Marty Pfannenstiel, Wednesday. Pfannenstiel finished his high school football career on a high note helping the Eagles to a 3A Kansas state championship.
“It’s definitely a relief that the college search is over,” said Pfannenstiel. “It was stressful but I’m glad I chose Washburn.”
Pfannenstiel and the Eagles made an appearance in the 3A state championship all four years of his career. But it wasn’t until this year that the Eagles finally got over the hump defeating Garden Plain 49-21. Pfannenstiel had a dominating performance with seven receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns. Not to mention what he did on the defensive side of the ball recording 11 tackles and three interceptions.
“After three years of coming up short it was definitely a relief to finally win,” said Pfannenstiel. “There was so much pressure and to finish my senior year that way is just great. I expect to win more championships now with Washburn.”
Pfannenstiel expects to play free safety for the Bods. At defensive back for the Eagles, Pfannestiel had 132 tackles, one sack, one fumble recovery and six interceptions, his senior year. Pfannenstiel says he picked Washburn for its academics and the rising football program.
“I chose Washburn for their academics, they have very good academics,” said Pfannenstiel. “It’s not too far from home. Their football program is on the rise. They have good facilities, it was just the right place for me.”
Washburn was also the right place for 21 other high school seniors as well, as the Bods received 21 letters of intent Wednesday and another Thursday morning. The Bods worked hard to fill spots at the defensive line and other areas and according to Craig Schurig, Washburn head football coach, the recruiting process was a success.
“Obviously one of the big needs we had was defensive line because we had five guys that graduated,” said Schurig. “We really felt like we met that need. We anticipate a couple of these guys really challenging for playing time and pushing the guys we currently have. Across the board we addressed needs that we will have in the future with quarterback, receiver and safety.”
The Bods signed three defensive tackles and two defensive ends to replace big names like Trey Lewis and Roy Simms. Even though Washburn hasn’t seen a freshman start in the past two years, Schurig explains it’s possible these young recruits could see playing time immediately.
“We told these guys when we signed them that they would have an opportunity to compete to play as a freshman,” said Schurig. “There will be some competition in our fall camp, which is great.”
Even though Trey Lewis will be missed, the news he has been making has helped the Bods recruit specifically at the defensive line positions. The All-American awards and NFL interest have shown recruits what a player can do in his four years at Washburn, Schurig said.
“Just about every kid that is going to play college ball has ambition to play in the NFL,” said Schurig. “It’s tough, but the fact is that we had three kids with NFL attention. Some of the publicity that Trey has got has helped. Particularly with some of the defensive linemen, they see a guy that has been through our program for four years and made a lot of progress.”
But sometimes it just helps to have a good relationship with the high school program. Once again the Bods successfully signed Hayden’s top rusher, Ryan Geist, who also happens to be the city’s Defensive Player of the Year. Geist, who expects to play linebacker for the Bods, was one of two players from Hayden to sign Wednesday.
Schurig says local kids tend to have a major impact on the program because they are involved in the summer program.
“Hayden has been a big school for us and they have a lot of success,” said Schurig. “Hayden has a great summer program. Silver Lake has a great summer program that is consistent with the players. Other schools in the area have developed that too, it’s just that they may have not had the consistency with the kids for a number of years. But the better their summer program is in high school, the easier the transition is to college.”