Mililani Safety’s Small Size Doesn’t Limit His Big Impact
For all his speed and “cat-quick” instincts on the football field, Mililani senior safety Beau Winchester is best known for delivering the big hit. At least, that’s always the plan.
“That’s probably the part of playing safety I like the best – I get to come up and make those big hits over the middle,” said Winchester. “One of the players I like to watch is Tyrann Mathieu of LSU. He’s small, but he puts out every game. He proves that size doesn’t matter and that it’s all about heart.”
Winchester considers himself to be undersized by a safety’s standards at 5-foot-8, 155 pounds. But speed on a football field is power, and Trojans head coach Rod York quickly was won over by Winchester last fall when the defense began to take shape.
“He’s a hard-hitting safety,” York said, “and he’s one that shows up every day to work. He’s a leader by example. We ask the kids to give their hearts to this, and he does that.”
For Winchester and his teammates, the last several weeks have been devoted to conditioning after the Trojans concluded spring practices in May. Mililani officially begins fall camp July 27. For their part, the Trojans are anxious to get started with the “real season” and have had a sense of urgency all off-season.
“Pretty much every day already is based on football right now,” said Winchester. “We’re training harder than ever before – our conditioning program is much better this year – and we’ve been doing team-bonding activities on Saturday mornings. We go and run at the beach. We didn’t really have a good season last year, and this is my senior season, so I really want to end with a good year.”
The Trojans figure to have a balanced team on the field this fall, as several standouts return to both sides of the ball. Among them is senior quarterback Jarin Morikawa, who threw for 2,597 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2011. Facing Morikawa every day in practice, Winchester asserted, is good preparation for Mililani’s Red West foes. The Trojan’s defense was solid in 2011, yielding just 108 yards on the ground per game.
“He’s one of the top QBs, so they challenge the defense, and we challenge them,” he said. “We like to help each other get better. A big part of every week during the season is forgetting about the previous week and learning the offense of the next team. That’s one of the good things about our division.”
Winchester has been a safety since the day he took up football in seventh grade in the Mililani Pop Warner program. He started every game last season as a junior after a year playing on the junior varsity.
“I like playing DB (defensive back) – it’s like being the quarterback of the defense because I can see everything back there,” he said. “Since you can see everything back there, you have to be a leader, and when anything gets past the linebackers, you have a chance to make a play.”