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The Drill: Quarterback Anthony Ross fights through injury for W-WG

WESTBROOK -- Members of the 2017 Westbrook-Walnut Grove football team may be too young to fully understand how much excellence passed before them on the same Westbrook football field they have trod this fall.

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Westbrook-Walnut Grove quarterback Anthony Ross has overcome injuries to star for the Chargers. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WESTBROOK -- Members of the 2017 Westbrook-Walnut Grove football team may be too young to fully understand how much excellence passed before them on the same Westbrook football field they have trod this fall.

Back in the day -- way, way back in 1982 -- the Westbrook Wildcats won the school’s first Minnesota state 9-Man football championship with names that live on in the history books. Tim Boeck, Randall Comnick, Mike Weiske, Curt Mischke and Steve Elzenga were an unusually gifted collection of players who starred for the Cats. There were, of course, more. Westbrook (which appeared in its first state football tournament in 1981) also competed in the state tournament in 1984 and 1985. The Wildcats won it all again in ‘85 with another collection of unusually gifted talent. Then in 1998, and again in 2000, Westbrook joined with Walnut Grove for state tournament football teams, and in 2000 came another state 9-Man title.

In 2017, 35 years after the first Westbrook state crown, Anthony Ross -- who also stars on an outstanding W-WG boys basketball squad -- led the Chargers to four straight football victories to start the fall season. The senior quarterback -- son of co-head coach Carter Ross -- has fought back injuries to lead the Chargers this fall.

The Globe interviewed Ross recently, and shot video footage of him during football practice on a patch of turf adjacent to where Boeck, Comnick, et al, made magic together. For the full video, go online at www.dglobe.com . Here are excerpts of the interview:

QUESTION: You suffered a torn ACL and had meniscus surgery in the summer. What’s it like to play through the injuries?

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ANSWER: “I had ACL surgery in my sophomore season. I tore it in a football game on defense. The recovery process was probably about four to six months rehabbing and doing simple stuff, and learning to do the cutting and running again. After that, it became stronger again.

“And I actually was playing back on my feet and then I hurt my meniscus and ACL again over the summer in a basketball tournament. And I underwent meniscus surgery, and the ACL is not clearly healed any more. So I’m playing (football) kind of gimpy.”

Q: What’s it like playing under your father?

A: “It’s fun to have him as a coach and a dad at the same time, but it’s also tough with some stuff. He’s hard on me for a lot of things, but I think I’m better for it.”

Q: You’ve been at Westbrook-Walnut Grove when the football team struggled. Now that the team is successful, what has changed?

A: “We knew that we had a lot of talent coming back into the season, and we lost a lot of close games last year. We kind of rallied together over the summer and said we gotta do what it takes if we want to be a successful football team, as far as getting into the weight room and team bonding -- that’s a big part of it.”

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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