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Junior quarterback Ethan Vashel has thrown for eight touchdowns and also rushed for three TDs to help the Guilford football squad continue ascending up the ranks this fall. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Vashel )
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The Guilford football team is on a mission to change the mindset of its program by developing a winning mentality one game at a time. Junior Ethan Vashel is playing a pivotal role in the revitalization of the Indians with his performance at the quarterback position.
Ethan started playing football in the 6th grade and then made his varsity debut under center as a sophomore last fall. As Guilford’s starting quarterback this season, Ethan has already helped the Indians match last year’s win total by piloting them to a record of 4-3 through their first seven games. In fact, Guilford recently rattled off a three-game win streak that saw the team deal East Haven its first defeat of the year. Thus far, Ethan has thrown for eight touchdowns and 541 yards to go with three TDs and 213 yards on the ground.
“It all starts with my teammates and coaches. They’re so supportive of me. I’m having a lot of fun this year, and we have a different feel and culture here. We’re trying to change the culture here,” Ethan says. “Quarterback is a hard position to play. It’s hard to have the ball in your hand for every play, but that is also what makes it exciting. You have to focus on what the team needs to accomplish on any play. You have to understand the concepts behind each play.”
Ethan feels that Guilford is playing with an emotional edge this season. He says the Indians are finding multiple ways to get locked in for every contest on both a physical and mental level.
“We’re playing for each other this year, and we’re finding specific reasons to spark us each game,” says Ethan, who also plays basketball and baseball at Guilford. “We want to change the culture here and keep this winning momentum going. We also trust each other and have a strong family aspect here.”
Ethan knows that he has a responsibility to lead the Indians as both a varsity veteran and their QB. Ethan makes sure that everyone is in tune with what’s transpiring on the gridiron and feels at home in the program.
“I’m always trying to pick up the younger kids and incorporate them into what we’re doing,” he says. “I give them my support, and the varsity guys will show up at the JV games and give them high-fives. It goes back to that family aspect.”
Head Coach Anthony Avallone is proud of Ethan for the poise his quarterback is showing in the pocket, especially during those high-pressure situations. Avallone says the experience that Ethan gained as a sophomore is paying big-time dividends in his junior campaign.
“Ethan brings the highest level of leadership to the practice field and games each day. He leads by effort and is the quintessential QB who has a level head in the most elevated emotional situations and executes at key times,” says Avallone. “The best part of it is he is only a junior and used his experience he gained last year to help fuel his success thus far. He has found great comfort working with [offensive coordinator Nick D’Angelo], and they have formed a level of trust between each other that translates onto the field.”
When all is said and done, Guilford wants to finish the 2018 season with a winning record. Right now, however, Ethan says that he and his teammates are concentrating on staying in the moment and overcoming the next challenge that is presented to them.
“We just try to get to the next play and week. I have a phrase that is the ‘one-play warrior,’ and I try to focus on the task at hand,” Ethan says. “It’s the same mentality with school in solving a problem on a test. We’re just focused on our next game.”
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