Pottstown culture change culminates in 1-AAA playoff appearance vs. Upper Moreland

Need to know what a culture change can bring to a program?

Look no further than Pottstown as the Trojans have completed a night-and-day transformation from the past two seasons, earning their first District 1-AAA playoff berth since 2002.

The time the Trojans took the field with 21 kids in a PAC-10 loss to Spring-Ford in 2013 seems like a distant memory.

“I think it says a lot about what culture can do for a program,” Pottstown head coach Don Grinstead said. “We have some talented kids, there’s no doubt about that, but I think it’s about the culture change that happened in July of 2013 and it’s continued throughout this year. We have kids in this program that just believe in the program, the coaches, school spirit and pride.

“Those little things – win the day and take care of today’s responsibilities – are a big thing for our kids. Our practices far outweigh our games. You want your games to be great but getting the kids to practice everyday two years ago couldn’t happen. Now they love to practice.”

Grinstead’s demeanor and the emergence of Brandon Tinson, Bryant Wise and Isaiah Mayes as leaders have helped the Trojans get in position to earn its first-ever district playoff win as it travels to No. 2 seed Upper Moreland Friday night.

Tinson comes into Friday’s contest second in the league with 1,038 rushing yards. Wise comes in after breaking Rian Wallace’s longstanding record for most tackles in a game (21), recording a school-best 24 tackles in the team’s loss to Pottsgrove last week. Mayes comes in ranked 12th in the PAC in rushing, his lead blocking expertise not seen by those checking stat lines.

“I haven’t seen any nerves this week and that’s the funny part,” Grinstead said. “When we let them know on Sunday who we were playing, they were excited, they were ready to go. They showed up Monday ready to go and we’ve had a great week of practice.”

For Tinson, the district game symbolizes a culmination of the maturation of a Trojans team that won a combined three games the previous two seasons.

“I started off my freshman year not very good. My sophomore year was worse and junior year was horrible,” Tinson said, “For the team I feel as if Friday will be a good experience for us. Once you get the taste of winning, it’s hard to lose. I feel that now that they know how to win, that they’re better prepared because of the leaders we have on this team.

“This isn’t just football anymore, it’s about brotherhood. Once you learn to play for the guy next to you, and not just yourself, everything comes so much easier. You can have a broken leg but as long as the guy next to you makes the tackle, you move on. We all learned to play for each other, and that this is all about brotherhood. We’re here to take care of each other just like you would take care of our real brother. We take care each other, move forward and never let anyone behind. If you’re here, you’re here to stay.”

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