One look at the banners, trophies and records posted inside a wrestling practice at Bakersfield High School or one listen of the classic rock blaring on the speakers and you leave with an "old school feel" to the way head coach Andy Varner leads practices. "Every year we're just blessed to try and carry on that tradition," he said.
We call this "Athlete of the Week" but BHS senior Navonte Demison has had a good year. He played football for the first time in three years and even caught the game winning touchdown in the D-I valley title game. "There's no other way I'd rather have my senior year," he said.
But while he makes big plays on the gridiron, he makes headlines on the mat. Last year Demison won a state title and finally got to see his name on "the big board", a list of all the state champions from BHS. "Everyday I look up and I see that, it's kind of extra motivation because I wanted to be there not once but twice now."
He's on the right track. This year he's a perfect 22-0 in his matches, has signed to play next year at Arizona State University and helped lead the Drillers to another, consecutive league title. A streak that goes back to 1989.
"He has the athletic ability, he has the drive," said Varner. "He can be something special in college." There's a reason he has that "drive for excellence." "I wanted to get a scholarship and take the work load off my mom," he said. "Now to finally do that, it's a dream come true."
With that now a reality, he's looking to add his name to "the big board" one last time.
Like Stephen Hicks on Facebook-https://www.facebook.com/StephenHicks23ABC
Follow him on Twitter- https://twitter.com/stephenhicks23