Cherokee football finds motivation from the sidelines
WLOS - More than a decades-worth of Cherokee Braves have heard the screams. Coming from the sidelines is a deep voice urging them on throughout the game. The voice belongs to Will Poolaw, the team's manager and unofficial motivator. "Since youth league he's been a part of the Cherokee Braves," said Demetryus Bradley, a center on this years squad. "I grew up and he's been on the sideline cheering us on."
Braves football is not just a pastime for Poolaw. It's his passion. "It means a lot to me and my heart," Poolaw explained before practice one day last week. "We can play anybody, any time, any where."
Poolaw doesn't just show up for practices and games. In his free time, he comes to coaches' meetings and assists with daily preparations. "He just comes here and donates his life, really, to Cherokee athletics," explained head football coach Kent Briggs.
Where Poolaw really shines, is under the Friday night lights. That's where the mild-mannered man from practice transforms into a living, breathing, screaming hype machine. "I just have confidence. [I] have faith [and] get fired up," a stoic Poolaw said. During the games, his duties include shuffling game balls to and from the referees. "Hes a hundred miles per hour and I have never seen anyone work harder than he does," Briggs smiled.
An outsider may look at the situation and think the team has adopted Poolaw; rather, it's the other way around according to Briggs. "He's adopted us," he mused. "[He's] kind of like the glue sometimes."