By Chris Slone
A broken back wasn’t enough to stop him. An open quarterback competition only made him stronger. The will to win only fuels his fire.
Once a three-sport athlete, junior Logan Kottenbrook withdrew from basketball shortly after attending high school to achieve his primary goal over his final two seasons in Waverly.
“The two years I have left in Waverly, I just want to be a winner; win at all cost,” Kottenbrook said.
Kottenbrook spent his freshman season playing varsity football and baseball for the Tigers, but he only managed to see time on the junior varsity basketball squad. During his sophomore campaign, Kottenbrook decided to train during the winter months, preparing for baseball season and the following football campaign.
“I was a decent basketball player, but it wasn’t my sport,” Kottenbrook said. “You’ve got kind of a football player out there playing basketball. I think that really helped me more in the long run. I practiced my skills more in the off-season, whether it was throwing footballs or hitting in the cage.
“It just took my football and baseball games to another level. I think I would have been an average player in all three sports and now I’m skilled in two, and I can go support my friends on the basketball court.”
The decision appeared to initially be disastrous as Kottenbrook suffered a fractured vertebrae during his second football season. With four games remaining in his sophomore campaign, Kottenbrook was playing wide receiver, and ran a slant and go route against the Portsmouth Trojans just as time expired in the opening half.
As the pass sailed toward his direction, Kottenbrook leaped into the air — extending his body, which left himself exposed to a violent collision from an oncoming defender. Once he picked himself up off the canvas and dusted himself off, Kottenbrook limped his way to the locker room with his teammates.
Instead of telling anyone he was ailing from the collision, Kottenbrook proceeded to play the entire second half with a fractured L5 vertebrae. After being diagnosed with the injury, Kottenbrook only missed two games before returning to the field for the final contest. He spent the next six weeks recuperating after the season concluded.
Once he fully healed, Kottenbrook set his sights on the starting quarterback position. During the summer, Kottenbrook competed with Clayton Howell to be the team’s signal caller, a battle in which he prevailed. Kottenbrook appreciated the opportunity to compete for the position and believes the experience has been beneficial for him and the Tigers.
“Competition makes you better,” Kottenbrook said. “Competition breeds success. If I went out there and knew I had the job locked down from day one, that would have made me lackadaisical, which wouldn’t be good for the team.”
Kottenbrook admitted he’s an ultimate competitor and hates to lose to anyone; it doesn’t matter how minuet the competition appears to be.
“If (Howell) throws a ball on the money from 30 yards, I want to throw one at 31 yards,” Kottenbrook said. “That’s what competition does. It just makes you better. That’s just helping the team out”
Part of his competitive spirit stems from Post 142 baseball. As a freshman, Kottenbrook found himself on a team with area standouts such as Sky Oliver, Dylan Shockley, Matt Joyce, Brady Knittle and Garrett Carmichael.
Before his first summer-league game, Kottenbrook found out he was hitting in the No. 2 spot, which was a shock for the youngster.
“I wasn’t expecting to hit more than seventh,” Kottenbrook said.
As an under-classman, Kottenbrook admitted he was amazed he was able to share the field with so many talented and fierce competitors. Kottenbrook said the upper-classman left a lasting impression on him, which he noted is a natural progression in life.
“Under-classman always look up to upper-classman,” Kottenbrook said. “Whether they set a good example or a bad example, it always happens. If your little brother sees you picking your nose in the car, he wants to pick his nose in the car. That’s how life is. So, seeing all these great baseball players and great men looking at me with the same respect that I have for them just made me a better baseball player and a person.”
After his final two seasons in Waverly are finished, Kottenbrook plans on pursuing a career in sports medicine.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.