Folsom Athlete of the Week: Tanner WardBy: Matt Long of the Telegraph
Tanner Ward is a heart-and-soul type of player. He gives everything he has on every play; leaving everything on the field.
At 5-8, 180 pounds, he’s not the biggest guy on the field, but as a safety/linebacker on Folsom High’s state championship team, Ward is arguably the team’s best tackler and is flat-out fearless.
Ward played most of the season at safety, but with linebacker Dylan Jorge injured, Ward played the final two games of the season at linebacker and his level of play didn’t skip a beat; nor did Folsom’s defense. In the 49-42 win over Helix, Ward made eight tackles, three for a loss of yards, had one sack, and several other pressures on the quarterback. For the season, he led the team with 132 tackles, 36 more than the next closest player. He also had two interceptions and four fumble recoveries.
“Tanner is a warrior,” Folsom coach Kris Richardson said. “He’s got the biggest heart on the team. He stepped up when Dylan Jorge went down and moved to linebacker and played great.”
Folsom Telegraph: What are your hopes/plans for after high school?
Tanner Ward: At the moment my plans after high school are not clear, but I have some hopes of playing at the next level. If that falls through, then I will enlist in the Navy right after high school.
FT: Do sports run in your family?
TW: Sports do run in my family, all the way down to the little ones who look up to their Uncle Tanner. It's funny, because my nephew Thor and I took a picture after the game Friday, and once I set him down he went straight to his Papa and said, "I wanna play football one day like Uncle Tanner."
FT: How long have you been playing football and how did you get your start in it?
TW: I started playing football when I was 5 years old. The start to all of it was a foam football I would throw around with my dad in the living room, and the countless hours of sitting on the couch watching Sportscenter, dreaming of being on the show one day.
FT: Do you have any pre-game rituals? If so, explain.
TW: My pre-game rituals are pretty simple; clear my mind with some good music, take a nap, get up to pray, and then go out and play.
FT: Listed at 5-8, 180 pounds, you are closer to being the smallest person on the field than the biggest, but yet you play much bigger than you are. As a safety and linebacker, you are a great tackler and fearless competitor. Where does that courageous style of play come from?
TW: My style of play comes from those that look down upon me. All my life I've been the smallest, and all my life people have doubted my ability. So when I strap it up every Friday night I think of them, and it fuels my fire that much more.
FT: What do you enjoy the most about playing football?
TW: What I enjoy most about football is the brotherhood I have been apart of. Over the past couple of years, I have made countless memories with my boys that will last a lifetime.
FT: You and your teammates just won a state championship. What is it about your team that you are most proud of?
TW: What I am most proud of about my team is how we always fight, always finish, and always have faith in one another.
FT: What’s your favorite class at Folsom and why?
TW: My favorite class at Folsom High is English, I love to write.
FT: Favorite Food?
TW: I'm a pretty simple guy. My favorite food is a nice combination pizza from Costco.
FT: Favorite music?
TW: I don't really have any favorite music, but I do like songs that are slower in tempo, and have a meaning behind the words.
FT: Do you have any pets? Tell us about them?
TW: I have two dogs, Lily and BoBo. Lily is a little puppy, also a little bit crazy. BoBo is an old dog, cranky when he's tired, but the best dog I've ever had.
FT: Do you have any interesting hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
TW: My interesting hobby is practicing martial arts. I love how every single movement you make is just like a piece on a chessboard. Other than that, I love spending time with my family, and friends.
FT: What inspires you in sports?
TW: My parents inspire me in sports, but also that side of me that wants to prove those wrong who look down on me.
FT: What are your career goals? What job/profession are you interested in?
TW: I would love to become an orthopedic surgeon one day, and then maybe take a run at office. Try and change the world a little bit.