This is the second in a four-part series entitled, “Scrapper Game Day: The People, The Traditions and the Memories.” Each new part of the series will be published every other week leading up to the first Nashville Scrapper game, against Hope on Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
By Dixon Land
Pageantry. Pressure. Purpose. These are just some of the few words that enter Leonard Snell’s head as he enters the locker room on Friday nights in the fall. It’s the pageantry of the game, the pressure of the moment and the purpose of the game. When the first foot of Snell’s colorful shoes hit the locker room floor, it’s all business. Game time.
“When I step foot in the locker room, it’s game time and I focus on the opponent. I have to be ready, because I know that the opponent is ready for me,” Snell, the 5’10” quarterback of the Nashville Scrappers, said.
Snell is in his second season as the starting quarterback for the Scrappers. He completed 160 of 279 passes and scored 37 touchdowns through the air. On the ground, Snell compiled 800 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns.
This season, he’s expected to have a break-out senior season with the help of new head coach Mike Volarvich. But Snell said that his love of the game is what drives him. His Friday routine isn’t unlike any normal high school football player.
“I wake up around six on game day, iron my khakis and pick out a pair of shoes I want to wear. I put on my jersey and stare in the mirror for about an hour just to go over Friday night and get myself ready,” Snell said.
Throughout the day, Snell, like many other Scrappers, day dreams about Friday nights, thinking about making big plays, the crowd cheering and his girlfriend rooting him on.
“Really throughout the day, I find myself day dreaming about what if I make a big play and how the crowd will react,” Snell said.
From the classroom to the pep rally, Snell finds himself becoming more and more excited about the game.
“After the pep rally, we get really hyped up, I try to take a nap and then get ready for the game. I like listening to music to help calm my nerves,” Snell said.
From a locker room nap, to pre-game warm ups on the field, Snell is narrowed in and focused on the job he has to do.
“My mindset every Friday night is this: I want to show people something different. I want to prove to them what I’ve been learning in practice,” Snell said. “When I take the field and run out of that tunnel, it’s like the whole sky gets lighter. It’s like Friday Night madness.”
And when Snell takes the field on Sept. 4 against Hope, he will not only have the pressure of thousands of fans watching, but he will also have the pressure of a boyhood hero watching him. A.J. Whitmore, who quarterbacked the 2005 and 2006 state championship teams for Nashville, will be on the sidelines.
“Growing up, I always heard his name and I just wanted to be him so much. My tenth grade year, I wore #2 like he did, and now I want to branch off and make my own name,” Snell said. “He texts me almost every single day just telling me things that I can improve on.”
So this fall, with all eyes upon him, including his hero in Whitmore, Snell will run out of the tunnel for his senior season at a program marked by tradition and poised for more greatness.