SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va., – Shepherd football athletes Tyler Stern and Noah Pohl embraced the role of unsung heroes on a team that made some noise in the postseason.
Pohl, the starting punter, understands the importance of good special teams play, even if it isn’t something that’s widely recognized.
“I feel that we are actually the people on the team who make the most difference during a game,” Pohl said. “Not many people realize that because everyone’s focused on the quarterback or touchdowns.”
Stern, the long snapper, feels that anonymity is a good thing.
“In long snapping, you don’t want anybody to know your name,” Stern said. “When they know your name, it’s because you messed up.”
A specialist’s role is different from any other role on the team. They don’t make many tackles, but they are quick to remember when they do.
“I have two [tackles] this year,” Stern said. “One on a punt and one on a blocked field goal.”
Stern also noted that tackling isn’t in his job description.
“My job is more to kind of get in his face and slow him down,” Stern said. “Somebody a little more athletic can make the tackle.”
Pohl jokingly brought up the fact that he missed a tackle earlier in the season.
This season, the Shepherd offense was second in scoring in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, which made things a lot easier on the punting unit.
“We’re always over there [on the sideline] on second down and third down, [Stern] snapping to me just in case,” Pohl said. “But we always get a first down.”
Stern, who was on the 2015 team that played in the national championship game, feels that this year’s team is the best in the last few years.
“I feel like this year there’s a lot more team chemistry,” Pohl said. “And that wasn’t all there last year.”
Stern feels that the team chemistry is especially evident within the specialists’ group.
“I don’t think there’s any other group on the team that has as much fun as us,” Stern said.
Not all of the players and coaches are fans of their antics, but Stern and Pohl say it helps take some of the pressure off.