Football field forges friendship, teammates inseparable on, off field

“Around BCS its not just VJ or Logan,” senior VJ Banks said. “We’re two individuals, but one person.”

Varsity football duo, seniors VJ Banks and Logan Pottberg have been playing since a tender age, with VJ playing since 6th grade year for Pop Warner football, and Logan for Brazos Valley Patriots. Four years ago the duo made their transition from kiddie ball into high school football and both agree that with such a young team, the pressure often transcends onto them.

“Ever since I’ve been on varsity the team has been young, and we haven’t had a lot of depth either,” VJ said. “It’s difficult because you want a break or moment off the field, but you can’t do that.”
Both agree that as seniors, the expectation to win is heavy, but the responsibility they have on the team and how they interact with younger players outweighs winning.

“We’re expected to be leaders out there for the team and for the school,” VJ said. “We’re out there on the field to win of course, but we’re also there for the younger players.”

VJ said the eyes of an entire school and community can be weighing but that it’s important to not allow the opinions of those outside of your teammates and coaches affect you, and Logan agrees.

“It’s not your sole responsibility to win a game,” Logan said. “We work as a team and as long as we’re happy with the outcome, whether it be that we played our best and lost or played our best and won, its our opinion of ourselves that matters.”

After struggling to come together as a team last season, their last game at College Park ignited the team’s potential and reinforced their love for the game. VJ said the team came together and played the game they had all grown to love and Logan agrees.

“ It was the first time the team went out there and and played for us,” Logan said. “I think thats what has boosted us, with the momentum carrying over into this year,”

After going 3-7 last football season, both agree that the team was prompted to look deep this season and define their goals as not only individuals, but as a team in aspiration of achieving them.

“I really want to make playoffs,” Logan said. “I’ve been here four years and I haven’t seen it happen, so I’d like that chance my senior year.”

Logan and VJ said that making it to the playoffs would be the best reward for the hard work they’ve put into football over the past four years. Even if they don’t win, the opportunity to play would mean the world to them.

“We’re the underdog in everyone’s eyes, and we know that,” Logan said. “[Making] playoffs is more for us, the team expects it out of ourselves. We’ve been overlooked and aren’t expected to succeed, but we’re doing everything we can to achieve our goals.”

Football has taught the two the dedication, leadership and strength that they’ll need to make it through college and the rest of their lives. Most importantly, the two have learned the discipline it takes to play a sport.

“At some point you get used to coaches and people chewing you out so often you learn to not react,” VJ said. “Instead, take it and say to yourself, ‘you’re that guy on the team who’s a leader, you have to get it together and lead’. You take criticism positively, because if you take it negatively that’s just a negative reflection on yourself.”

These two owe their close knit friendship to the trials they’ve gone through in football and have often times been called inseparable off the field. VJ said that his friendship with Logan is as close as two guys can get and that he’s happy everyone recognizes them as a duo.

“It’s like when I’m not with him, it’s a crime,” Logan said. “Everyone’s so used to us being around each other that they assume we don’t know how to act in public or that we’re lost when we’re not together.”

On the field, the two put their friendship aside and recognize that its not only about them, but it’s the rest of the team as well.

“Off the field I’m not as close to everyone as I am with VJ, but we do have other good relationships too,” Logan said. “In the real world, you have to work with people you dislike and we’re lucky to all get along, but even if we didn’t we’d act professional and work together like we do now.”

Senior Conner Ward has played alongside the two since their freshman year and admires them for their hard work, dedication and leadership on and off the field.

“When we’re out there on the field we’re a united force working towards a common goal,” Ward said. “These guys are my best friends and have helped me and the team over the last four years”

The duo is sad to see their time at Bryan High come to an end, but bright futures lay ahead for the both of them, with VJ attending and playing football with Rice University in the upcoming school year.

“Academically it’s a very prestigious school and athletically they’re on the rise, so I’m excited for that,” VJ said. “Right now my main focuses are Bryan High and Rice. I plan on studying Kinesiology and hope to be a trainer for sports at the college level. Staying within sports is important to me.”

With VJ looking to Rice for schooling, Logan is looking into University of Houston and Sam Houston State University , and is excited for the possibilities of moving away from home.

“I’m looking forward to maybe being noticed by a school, but if not, I’m looking into pharmaceutical sales or something with business,” Logan said. “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’d like to venture out some and see what other places have to offer me.”

With the end of the season, end of senior year and college just around the corner the two look back on their experiences and remain positive that their friendship will last through college. VJ said that University of Houston and Sam Houston aren’t very far from Rice, and that having the familiar face of his best friend around will be one of the best parts of college.

“We’re like Scooby Doo and Shaggy.” VJ said. “Together we’re as good as it gets.” Logan said.