For many seniors, this will be the end of a familiar and cherished time in their lives especially for those who played their very last high school football season. And it's no different for Doug Phillips. A senior at Armada High School, Doug plays defensive back, and in addition to his athletic abilities, he's also a great student and a very well rounded kid.
Armada is a small farming community in Northern Macomb County where the people are young, or young at heart, and the ambition to succeed and excel in everything you do is well supported by everyone; family, friends and teachers alike. We had the chance to talk with Doug about what he thinks the future beyond high school football has for him and he recalled many of his highlights during this year's football season. He's had two very successful seasons personally and his stats definitely demonstrate that fact.
"Personally, I think my stats last year were better than this year's," admitted Phillips, "but overall I still played some very strong games. My accomplishments from my 7-on-7 season would best reflect my abilities as a whole. I've had the awesome opportunity to play all over the mid-west as a defensive player. Being able to intercept and bat away passes against some of the nation's best quarterbacks and receivers helped me to realize some of my strengths. As an offensive player, I caught a considerable amount of touchdowns which is a direct result of the hard work and training we've done to prepare for these games."
In addition to playing a great season, many high school athletes know that the efforts they put towards a game won't just result in a win, a spot in the play offs or school recognition. In fact, high school football is often the means to bigger and better opportunities in the future. That's why every player, at every position, should always put their best foot forward - you never know what scout, college or coach will be watching you on the field.
Doug loves the game so much that he even devotes his summers to training and preparing for upcoming football seasons. He attended quite a few camps last year during the summer and had the opportunity to come in contact with a lot of schools for possible recruitment.
"I chose mostly D-1 camps which I knew would put me up against some of the best in hopes that it would push and test my abilities" said Phillips. "Thanks to Coach Ron Rice, I received a ton of great compliments from other coaches and have been in contact with schools such as Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Temple, Cornell a few times, Indiana a few times, Ferris, Hope, and Lake Erie. Some needed more height, some needed more speed and some just didn't recruit in Michigan. I consider it a success because each of the Coaches taught me something that I can use when I choose my college."
I love hearing coaches say things like "We need to schedule an official visit, or what day can you come to us?" But, the most common phrase I hear is, "I need your academic information."
In addition to summer camps, Doug also spent a lot of time training at Total Performance in Rochester Hills throughout last year as well as one on one time with Coach Ron Rice. This is one player who really values the discipline of football and realizes that hard work off the field can result in more wins on the field. Not many high schoolers are so willing to give up their free time for extra football practice and challenging and vigorous training exercises. But then again, Doug is obviously not like many high schoolers. He has the level of focus and dedication that any school would love to have be a part of their team.
"The trainers at Total Performance are real professionals and know what they're doing" commented Phillips. "And as for Coach Ron Rice, I can easily say he's one of the best coaches I've ever had the pleasure to work with. I consider these people to be my best friends, critics, mentors and counselors. They've increased my strength, improved my speed, and optimized my overall performance. One example would be when my ball carries had me gaining an additional 5 yards on average after the first contact and in many cases it took more than a few players to bring me down! And because of Coach Rice I've been able to hone my DB skills like never before to maximize my performance on the field."
But despite all the efforts of this hard working senior, Armada's 5-4 season was one win away from the playoffs two years in a row. What could be the hump that this team hasn't been able to get over? While Doug could only guess what's holding them back, he has faith that the coaches at Armada High School know what they're doing on and off the field.
Most athletes have support from someone behind the scenes, and one of Doug's biggest supporters is his father; along with his family and the great coaching staff at Armada High School, Doug believes he wouldn't be where he is today.
"There are simply no words for the gratitude I have towards my dad" said Doug. "The time, money and effort he invests in me is unfathomable and I love him."