by James Tate
All-around complete players
The Fremont Silverwolves showcase one of the top linebacker duos in the state. Senior Christian Blanch and sophomore Bubba Koford take making every tackle to another level. Blanch leads not only region 1, but the entire state with 114 total tackles. Koford has recorded 83 total tackles to rank 4th in 6A.
Blanch is back from a season-ending injury in his junior year and is a force on the Silverwolves’ defense. He has a team-leading 3 interceptions on the year. Blanch has two interception returns for a touchdown. A complete linebacker, Blanch plays well in space and diagnose plays quickly and is the right place to make stops. A 3-year starter Blanch recognizes former Carolina Panther linebacker Luke Kuechly as someone he studies and models his game after. An intelligent and all-around linebacker Kuechly was always in the right place just like Blanch.
“I can make plays all around the field with run and pass,” said Blanch. “Another thing is being able to be in charge of the defense.”
Koford has stepped in as a sophomore and plays with a relentless motor and has earned the trust of his coaches and teammates.
“I always show up ready to work,” said Koford. “I’m working on pushing myself and being coachable.”
Pro football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and current San Francisco 49er linebacker Fred Warner are two guys Koford studies and love their energy and passion for the game.
Relentless effort on and off the field
Blanch’s knowledge of the game through film study and Koford’s desire to learn and get better make this duo a perfect match at the linebacker position.
“Christian has taught me a lot about the game,“ said Koford. “The key things I have learned are to play with great technique, study film, play with relentless effort and play tough. Our defense sets the tone for our team. Having the team see us tackling as a group always brings energy to them.”
Blanch and Koford work well together on the field.
“They are relentless and have dedication and toughness,” said Head Coach Clay Bayard. “Working with former NFL player Zach Vigil has helped Blanch and Koford establish working with their hands and other key aspects of playing the linebacker position.”
Koford earned the trust of the coaching staff by stepping in for Blanch last year. His overall commitment in the classroom as well as on the field led to the coach’s trust in him.
“There are many things that have impressed me about Bubba,” said Blanch. “One thing is how fast he matured throughout last year and this year. Last year he got thrown in and did an awesome job for a freshman. He helps me more than he knows by watching films and pointing things out all the time. He is young, but he is awesome, and I am excited for what the future holds for him.”
Bright futures for both Blanch and Koford
Blanch’s outstanding play has him on the watch list for many awards at season end. He is one of the leading candidates for region defensive player of the year and making all-state teams. Koford also will be on all-region teams and receive recognition as one to watch out for the next two years. Blanch is looking at playing in college and is a recruit that should be on the school’s contact list. The play-making ability, knowledge of the game, and all-around relentless play make these two stand out at every game. These two are also ultimate teammates and great leaders for their teams.
Silverwolf pride, sacrifice, and great teammates
Ridge Whitney is one of the region’s top all-around players with his play as a wide receiver, cornerback, and kick returner.
“One person that is always getting everyone pumped up every day is Ridge Whitney,” said Blanch. “He’s always had energy and is always flying around and making plays.”
The Silverwolves change at quarterback this season with freshman Slade Parker taking over. Talented senior Bodee Goins moved to defense to play outside linebacker.
Special teams have been a bright spot for the Silverwolves this year. Blanch and Koford play key roles and Whitney leads the region in the kick-off return average. Also, senior Dax Iverson leads the region in touchbacks, and punt average as well as being one of the state’s best kickers.
“Something that I love about being a Silverwolf is knowing that we aren’t going to be the biggest on the field,” said Blanch. “But we are going to go fight no matter what. That’s what Fremont has always done and that’s something my dad has always told me.”
“What I have always loved about being a Silverwolf is that our team always strives to get better,” said Koford. “And they come to work every single day. I love all the people surrounding me to do my best.”
Photo courtesy James Tate of Bubba Koford and Christian Blanch