From the Bench: Tribe's Carson Winkie Proud Owner of Bridgeport's First Football Championship Belt

By Jeff Toquinto on December 17, 2017 from Sports Blog via

Earlier this year, the Bridgeport High School football program began recognizing a “Scout Team Player of the Week.” Not only was the player recognized by the staff for their effort in preparing the varsity for the game that week, but the coaches would submit a photo of the player and a small write up to Connect-Bridgeport.
Eventually, the player would get something else. That something else, however, came after the program started.
According to Bridgeport assistant football Coach Adam King, the idea sprung up as a result of what he and Coach John Cole felt may have been a less than inspired effort in 2016 by the scout unit.
“We didn’t feel the scout team went all out all the time and Coach Cole and I discussed it the Scout Team Player of the Week was born to help motivate and give kids an incentive,” said King. “The reason, beyond last year, was that we had close to 50 guys on the team this year and outside of mop up duty on Friday nights only 17 or 18 guys are playing most of the night.
“That left two-thirds of the team not really getting much recognition,” King said. “We wanted them to be recognized for their effort and going to battle each week.”
That would lead to the big prize. When the idea was discussed with Travis Jones, “The Voice of the Indians,” King said he loved it. Jones, who is deeply involved in the program, suggested that the weekly winner be given a championship belt, similar to ones worn by professional wrestlers.
“That’s where it came from and it says ‘Bridgeport Scout Team Champion’ on it,” said King. “It has Big 10 Conference, SSAC and other little items on it that each player would have when they had the belt each week,” said King.
With the season complete, the decision was made to add tradition to the new tradition of the “Scout Player of the Week.” The coaches not only decided to name a “Scout Team Player of the Year,” they also decided to have the annual winner’s name engraved on the belt.
“It’s hard to start a tradition in a program with so much tradition, but we think we have a good one and we think we have a great first-time winner,” said King.
The first-ever winner of the award is going to sophomore Carson Winkie. Winkie now gets to keep the belt the entire offseason until it’s passed off to the week one winners in 2018.
“He’ll get to keep it in the locker room so other kids can see it all the time,” said King. “Outside of the program, not a lot of people have seen it. The kids that have seen it really like it.”
King said the 6’1, 205 pound Winkie turned out to be a popular choice among the coaches. And he said it was a direct result of his year-long effort on the scout team.
“He was there every day and doing his work and being accountable. Along with being talented, he understands everything so well because he has a very solid level of intelligence,” said King. “He played him offensively at fullback and wingback on offense and at inside linebacker on defense. I don’t think he ever got a rest during practice because he was always in there playing both sides of the ball.”
King said there’s a chance in 2018 there could be players winning the honor twice or more. This year, however, he said it wasn’t necessary.
“We had a lot of good players on the scout team and I don’t think it was simply a result of the belt and getting their picture on (Connect-Bridgeport), but it was a good year,” said King. “We had enough kids that performed well enough that the honor and the belt changed hands from week to week.”
Winkie may not be eligible to win the belt next year. And it hasn’t nothing to do with a rule making player ineligible to win it.
“We’re expecting him to be in position to be a starter next year,” said King. “If he shows the same work ethic he’ll put himself in good shape to be with the first unit.”

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