Wrestling and football have complemented each other for Chad Weiss.
The Brainerd Warriors junior slammed opponents into the wrestling mat last winter. This fall, the 170-pound linebacker has been running opposing ball carriers into the turf.
"Wrestling makes you mentally tough," Weiss said. "You can never get down and you can never stop."
In his first season as a starter, Weiss leads the Warriors in tackles, has intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble. He made a team-high 17 stops last week in a crucial 14-7 Central Lakes Conference win at St. Cloud Tech.
"I didn't even think I would be close to leading the team in tackles, especially with Mike Weiss and guys like Chris Foy and Seth Owens, they've been playing for quite a while," Weiss said.
The Warriors tackled Tech running back Justin Kamphenkel with frequency. The Tigers' halfback entered the game with 843 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished with just eight carries and 20 yards. Hampered by a sprained ankle, Kamphenkel had one rush in the second half.
Brainerd limited Tech to 227 yards and shut the Tigers out in the first half. Warrior opponents are averaging only 11 points and 230 yards.
"We're not as big as we have been in past years but our speed is good," Weiss said. "That helps us out on flying to the ball, getting more people there to make the hit and stopping them from making more yards."
Warriors head coach Ron Stolski said Weiss represents a defense that is playing sound football.
"Chad is a little undersized to play Central Lakes Conference linebacker," Stolski said, "but his heart is big enough. He has real good speed and acceleration to the ball. He's a strong, physical player who hits hard. Throughout the season he has come up with a number of big plays. He's forcing fumbles, he's just around when a play is to be made.
"He's also our long snapper. He did a good job of that under a heavy Tech rush. He's just a fine all-around football player. He also plays on our kickoff and punt teams."
Warriors linebackers coach Scott Parsons said Weiss' accomplishments correspond with the development of the front four of Owens, Foy, David Jones and Brandon Freihammer.
"The people up front are keeping people off us and are giving us more freedom to roam," Parsons said. "We ask our linebackers to do four things -- read consistently, move off the read, relentlessly pursue to the football and finish the play with a physical style. Every week, Chad is getting better at that. Against Tech, he was pretty much everywhere."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Cori Severson and Christina Roberts, swimming, each won two events against Apollo.
Mike Weiss, football, rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown against Tech.
Kevin Mertens, football, had two interceptions against Tech, raising his season total to eight.
(Athlete of the week is honored by the Brainerd Sports Boosters Club).
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