Townsley wins PI’s October Male Athlete of the Month
This season might not have ended the way the Glenwood Springs Demons football team was hoping, but senior quarterback Jake Townsley can take a small semblance of solace knowing that his hard work on the field as a dual-threat quarterback and standout captain as well as being a terrific student in the classroom led to him being named October’s Male Athlete of the Month, as awarded by the Post Independent.
On the field, Townsley did a little bit of everything offensively, leading the Demons to a 5-5 mark in 2016 — a three-game improvement from the previous fall — while helping to lay down a solid foundation for years to come under Head Coach Rocky Whitworth. With Townsley moving on, the key to that foundation is the togetherness and tight team bond that Townsley and his fellow seniors helped create.
“Our whole motto from the beginning of the year was ‘New Beginning’,” Townsley said. “Just seeing the transition from all the kids from last year to this year into a better result was nice to see. The team chemistry was great, and it was really nice to see all the hard work come together. Last year I think we all kind of felt separated grade-wise because we had a lot of freshmen playing up on varsity, so I think this year we got a lot closer as a team by hanging out together outside of football, whether that was in school or doing things on the weekend. Getting closer really helped us once we got back onto the field. As seniors, we really drove that home by trying to create a new culture and system here at Glenwood.”
While on the field, Townsley had a standout year, throwing for 1,071 yards and five touchdowns while adding 768 rushing yards and seven touchdowns on 122 carries. With all of his success and headlines on the field, Townsley was carrying a heavy workload off the field as a student.
“A big driving force in my success as a student is honestly sports,” Townsley said. “I know that if I want to play sports that I have to do well in the classroom, and a big thing with that is what we do as a team. On Wednesdays we have a study hall, so if you don’t go to study hall and do your school work, you can’t play. A lot of the driving force for me — and I think with a lot of kids as well — to do well is through athletics.”
Although he readily admits that his junior year was much tougher for him as a student, Townsley still has the weight of AP Statistics and AP Environmental Science, which can be a lot for a multi-sport athlete of Townsley’s caliber. But the heavy workload on and off the field hasn’t affected his play or his reputation as a student one bit. As a student athlete himself, Townsley wants to break the mold of bad reputations for athletes as students.
“I definitely want to break that mold,” Townsley said. “I don’t want to say anything bad about any teacher whatsoever, but I feel like some could have that thought of us as lazy students right off the bat. It’s important for me to put in the work and have success in the classroom just as much as it’s important for me to have success in whatever sport I’m playing. I think being more successful in the classroom can be more successful in transitioning into athletics. It’s a confidence thing because if you’re doing well in the classroom, it takes weight off of you as an athlete.”
Behind that mentality, Townsley can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to, whether that’s college football at the next level, or if he wants to just focus on academics following graduation. Roughly seven months away from graduation, Townsley already has his laid out his plan, which involves entrepreneurship as his choice of a major with another business degree added on in some fashion.
“Honestly, where I go depends on if I want to play college football or not, so we’ll see,” Townsley said. “But I know that most of the really good entrepreneurship programs are at bigger schools, and I’m not sure I’m on that level athletically yet. I’ve been looking at Oklahoma State and Boise State as bigger schools for academics.”
Due to his exceptional achievements on the field and his tremendous drive in the classroom, Townsley more than deserves October’s Post Independent Athlete of the Month award.
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