Tonawanda News — Tristan Boling is arguably one of the best wide receivers to ever put on a Tonawanda uniform.
He tied the school record for receptions (34) last year as a sophomore, but this season Boling set out on a new journey — under center as the unquestioned leader of the Warriors.
Tonawanda coach Rob Gross always envisioned Boling as his starting quarterback.
”I knew he was going to be our starting quarterback when he was in eighth grade. I fully expected him to be a leader because of his personality,” Gross said. “He is a good person and he has a likable and friendly personality. It’s his confidence and he has all the attributes a coach wants in his quarterback.”
The move to QB has been in the works since last season, when Boling took the majority of his practice reps at the position.
The transition has been smooth and the junior is getting results. He threw three touchdown passes in the Warriors loss to Akron last week, and he said every player expects to win and is improving every week.
”There are no surprises. We expect to be this good,” Boling said. “We’ve been working hard all offseason and we expect to win and we expect to make the playoffs. Each week everyone is getting better. As a group we are trying to get better every week.”
Gross said that Boling’s mental toughness is what separates him from most other naturally-gifted players. He wants to win and has a deep passion for the football program at Tonawanda, and he wants to see his teammates succeed.
”Tristan has embraced our program and so has his family. He’s protecting the tradition because of his pride in Tonawanda,” Gross said. “His pride in his community and in the football program comes through in a lot of different ways. He knows that if he hangs his head the guys around him will as well. He remains positive in difficult situations and that example is one for the rest of his teammates to follow.”
Last season Tonawanda QB and 2012 News’ Player of the Year Clayton Hess was notorious for his vocal prescence on the sideline and in the huddle, but Boling goes about things in a different way. He leads by example and his teammates have taken notice.
”I’m more of a quiet person but when guys need to focus I’ll tell them they need to focus up. They always listen,” Boling said. “I try to show with my actions on the field that I’m a leader.”
”Tristan leads by example and when he does say something to his teammates in the huddle they listen, because he chooses his words carefully,” Gross added. “He knows when to get on guys and when to encourage them. I think he has a nice balance of push and pat on the back.”
On the field there is nothing Boling can’t do. He has shown his skills through the air, on the ground and on the receiving end of things, and his knowledge of the game has already helped the Warriors win as many games this season as they did a year ago after only four weeks.
Gross expects Boling to keep improving and said as he does he will continue to impress in new ways, while leading his team by his actions.
”Tristan has natural ability and he makes coaches look good. We can put him in the right spots but ultimately he has to make the plays with his instinct and his ability,” Gross said. “It’s a gift that has to be nurtured and will continue to grow as he gets bigger, stronger and faster. His talent allows him to make plays that can be spectacular.”Follow @tonanewssports and sports editor @MattParrino on Twitter for complete high school sports coverage.