Friendly battle for the CWU QB position

Jojo Hillel attempts to gain a couple extra yards against Dixie State at Tomlinson Stadium.

Jojo Hillel attempts to gain a couple extra yards against Dixie State at Tomlinson Stadium.

Jack Lambert

Jack Lambert

Jojo Hillel attempts to gain a couple extra yards against Dixie State at Tomlinson Stadium.

Sabrina Wheelhouse, Staff Reporter

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It’s a battle for the starting quarterback position, but these four guys aren’t letting it get between their friendship.

Tommy Hays, Riley Hennessey, Jojo Hillel and Andrew Graham are working together on and off the field in order to lead the Wildcats to a successful upcoming season beginning in  August.

They have had to balance being teammates competing for the same position while also maintaining their friendship, which is a valuable aspect to any game and beneficial for the whole CWU football team.

“They have that brotherly love deal where you fight harder with your brothers than the enemy,” said head coach Ian Shoemaker. “We want our quarterbacks to be super competitive, while keeping a positive atmosphere to learn, and to give each other room to grow and get to know the system.”

Since transferring to CWU spring quarter, Hennessey has had less time—compared to Hays and Hillel—to learn the program’s system,  but he has been able to rely on his teammates to help him out.

“It’s my first quarter here, but the guys have showed me all that I need to know and how to do something a certain way,” Hennessey said. “It has been beneficial to have these guys in my position helping me learn all while improving themselves as players.”

Hays transferred to CWU winter quarter, one quarter before Hennessey, and is also still getting a grasp on the program.

“He has done a great job transitioning to our program,” Shoemaker said. “Hays is a good teammate that gets along well with everyone and trains hard every day while being able to compete at a high level no matter what.”

Jojo Hillel has been on the team longer than Hays and Hennessey and has more CWU football playing experience under his belt. He has been a strong figure in helping and making sure that the other quarterbacks understand the process.

“Hillel is a good teammate with how open he is to new guys competing for the starting position, he’s willing to do the right thing for the program and I’m impressed with his maturity and how he competed this spring,” Shoemaker said.

Hays, Hennessey and Hillel all feel that the being close on and off the field keeps things fun and makes them want to work harder and push each other every day. Whether it’s watching film, in the weight room or the classroom, they can rely on one another to find success.

Having close friends on the team helps to reduce the amount of pressure and increases team chemistry which the football coaches look for within their team and players.

“Competing on and off the field helps us to be better players and teammates and pushes us to be the best we can be,” Hillel said.

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Friendly battle for the CWU QB position