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BEACON FALLS — In a family of three brothers, the youngest one already has expectations set by his older siblings. The same goes with Woodland Regional High School sophomore quarterback Tanner Kingsley.
Tanner’s two older brothers, Shane and Cody, both won championships while on the Woodland football team, so the pressure would seem to rest squarely on the last Kingsley’s left arm.
But the 5-foot-10, 130-pound Kingsley says he doesn’t feel any pressure because of his team, which he led to a 41-18 victory over Sacred Heart in its first game of the season on Sept. 15.
“There’s not that much pressure,” Tanner says. “We’ve got a senior, all-returning [offensive] line. I mean, they take a lot [of pressure] off. And we have a great running back, so I just have to do my job.”
Woodland offensive coordinator Tim Phipps, who also coached Shane and Cody, has been trying to keep the pressure off Tanner.
“We tell him the first thing is to play within who he is,” Phipps says. “Don’t try to be anybody, don’t try to live up to any perceived expectations because he’s a Kingsley.”
Joining Phipps on the Hawks’ coaching staff is Cody, Woodland’s freshman football coach. Cody says he enjoys being able to watch Tanner as the starting quarterback, a role which Cody held for part of 2006 and all of 2007.
“It’s nice that I get to coach him, but it’s also nice that I get to watch my little brother on Friday nights,” Cody says. “Being that young and being the starting quarterback at Woodland High School, it’s a lot of fun to watch him.”
Watching Tanner isn’t the only fun thing about having a younger brother start at quarterback. The inevitable comparisons between Tanner and Cody have already begun.
“If all goes the way Tanner wants it to go, Tanner’s going to be knocking off Cody’s records, one by one,” Phipps says.
Cody isn’t ashamed to acknowledge how good his younger brother is going to be.
“There was only one game in my varsity career that I threw three touchdowns, that was against Crosby,” Cody says. “He did it in his first game. So I’ve gotta give it to him.”
The confidence on Tanner’s part isn’t lacking, either.
“I’m young,” Tanner says. “But, I think I will [be the best].”
Editor’s note: This video report was done before the Hawks’ 36-6 loss to Ansonia on Friday.