Longtime teammates Winebreak, Gardner solidify Upper Dublin’s linebacking corps

As Upper Dublin sets out on improving upon the most successful season in team history, the Cardinals will depend greatly on their defense this season, particularly their linebacking corps.

The corps is led by inside linebacker Henry Winebreak, who enters his third season as the Cardinals staring linebacker and a two-year captain. Playing next to Winebreak is his longtime partner-in-crime Stacey Gardner. Jack Rapine fills out the unit.

“Me and Stacey have been on the same team since second grade,” Winebreak said. “We just know each other.”

Upper Dublin started its youth football program in 2004, as Winebreak, Gardner and Rapine are examples of players that came up through the program to build elite chemistry through about a decade of playing together.

“These guys were our first group in at that lowest weight level,” Upper Dublin coach Bret Stover said. “This is them rising all the way to the top through the program. When we started that, this is what we hoped to see at the end of it.

“That’s really what it is at the end of the day. There are 25 seniors on this team and I would say probably 20 of them grew up playing football together.”

Besides using each of their respective talents, the linebackers as a group take responsibility for setting the tone of the game and take an important leadership role. They accept the challenge that the success of this season depends greatly on their leadership and performance.

“It makes us want to be leaders on the field and lead by example,” Rapine said. “All of our teammates, we’ve got to pick them up when we’re down and even if we’re not having a good game ourselves we know the other two got our back.”

One of the traits seen from the Upper Dublin defense this year is fast and aggressive play. A lot of what gives the defense those abilities is the community and camaraderie of the three linebackers.

“You’ve definitely got to know the defense better than other positions,” Winebreak said. “You’ve got to know what you’re doing, you’ve got know what the d-linemen are doing, you’ve got to know what the d-backs are doing so its more responsibility but its part of the position.”

With unrivaled chemistry to go along with plenty of talent, the trio looks forward to leading the Cardinals to the great heights and beyond that the 2014 team reached.

“I’m most excited about the potential that the team has if we put everything together,” Winebreak said. “If we work hard and have good practices I’m excited to see what we can do.”

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