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Golden Valley football: Sean Tate, Going full force

Senior taking team to new heights through work ethic

Posted: August 28, 2010 10:19 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Golden Valley senior linebacker Sean Tate finished last season as the Grizzlies’ second leading tackler despite missing several games. Tate is a team captain this year.

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When Golden Valley linebacker Sean Tate missed two days of practice to be with his ill father, he still didn't forget about his team.

"Besides thinking about my dad, I thought about them every day," Tate says. "I thought about what we would be doing."

The senior captain came back to practice once his father, who suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized two from Aug. 9-13, returned to better health. The team gave him a warm welcome upon his arrival after the short absence.

"All the kids texted him and called him, and the only words out of his mouth when he came back were, ‘I don't know if I've ever been more loved by a group of guys,'" says Grizzlies head coach Andy Campbell.

It's that sort of team mentality that inspires Tate to continue working hard in practice and maintaining his strong pride for Golden Valley. During his time away from practice, he called his coaches and asked about specific plays the offense ran. If the team ran defense that day, he'd ask about coverages.

Tate has worn the black and gold uniform since his freshman year, and he started most of the games for the varsity team last year. In the seven games he played last season, he compiled 47 total tackles, 24 of them solo, which was second most on the team.

Beyond individual accomplishments, though, Tate thinks it's the team mentality that will win games this year.

"I know we're good and we're going to be good," he says. "I'm so excited because every year, Golden Valley has a team, but they've never had a special team like we have this year."

Tate went on to explain that what separates this year's squad from last year's winless group is the attitude, not necessarily the players.

"We have great chemistry. A lot of years, it was kind of like a rag-tag team and this year, it's phenomenal," he says. "We all know exactly what everyone is supposed to be doing on the field at all times and we all have trust in each other."

As one of the few senior starters on the defense, Tate feels it's important to make sure less experienced players remain focused and know their individual roles.
With a roster chalked full of juniors and first-year starters, players and coaches look to the few kids with solid varsity experience.

Varsity experience doesn't come without working hard. Tate worked with a strength and conditioning program in the offseason and promises to be vastly improved from last season. Campbell refers to him as ‘GI-Joe' because of his muscle tone and overall work ethic.

"He's an athlete. He's just a tough, tough kid," Campbell says.

Tate's work in the weight room and on the field serves to help both him and his teammates. It all goes into his philosophy of being a team-leader.

"I try to lead by example, just like in life," he says. "Yelling doesn't really get you anywhere, but if you need to get a point across, I do believe, if you show your sternness and how serious you are with the situation, then that speaks for itself."

That's not to say the outside linebacker isn't vocal when he's on the field. Usually, the words coming out of his mouth are positive and encouraging, Campbell said. He's always having a good time at practice and he makes sure his teammates do the same. After practices, Tate will often be the first one to start shaking hands and high-fiving players and coaches.

"Every now and then you get the hand shake and the hug," Campbell says. "Sean is a full-on, two-handed hugger."

Tate can't take all the credit for his personality traits. He grew up in the right kind of environment for it.

"It comes from my coach and my parents had something to do with that as well," Tate says. "They're really good people. They would give you the shirt off their back if they had to."

Playing football goes just as far back for Tate, who started playing tackle ball in fourth grade when lived in Alabama. He's received a few letters from interested college football programs and hopes to continue playing beyond high school. If that doesn't work out, he plans on joining the Air Force, giving more life to his GI-Joe nickname.

"It would be a huge honor to play for whoever offered me to play," Tate says. "I actually have dreams a lot of myself in the NFL or in college ball, and it really gets me fired up for practice and gives me a good goal."

 

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