Football Preview: There’s no ‘I’ in Team—or Webb
by Andrew Garda
Senior Mounties running back Danny Webb is happy to talk about himself.
Getting him to stay on that subject is a bit of a challenge, though.
Webb is just as likely to veer off and talk about his teamates as he is to talk about himself. He has praise for the offensive line (“They’ve really improved.), his fellow backfield-mates (“Having two other running backs who can do the same thing, it’s just a blessing.”) and his quarterback (“We’re fortunate to have a high IQ quarterback.”).
He’ll even throw in a mention of a sophomore running back like Nate Bryan if the guy wanders into Webb’s eyeline.
Nobody is going to work harder than Webb when he has the ball in his hands, but nobody is cheering harder for his teammates when he doesn’t.
“Danny is one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever been around,” Coach Pat Leonardis said after practice recently. “If he gets five carries a game, he doesn’t care or if he gets 25 carries, it doesn’t matter to him. At the end of the day, I truly believe that all he wants to do is win a state title.”
Leonardis is right—a state title is all Webb is worried about right now and he knows that while he’s a big part of fulfilling that dream, he can’t do it alone.
“This is my last season, and I want to make it the best season,” Webb said. “I’m just looking to get back to MetLife. That’s my biggest concern, and I know that’s the team’s biggest concern.”
For Webb that means more than quarterback Tarrin Earle handing him the ball for a big touchdown run. It’s about the seniors showing leadership and suporting their teammates.
“The difference this year is really leadership,” Webb explains. “My freshman year, those were really good leaders. The entire team was just leaders. [This senior class] wants to be even better. Better than 2015, better than 2016.”
Webb knows it’s even more important this year, as the team had to replace many key components, especially on the offensive line. Early on, the new offensive line—made up of four new starters before an injury to Bo Bigelow made it five—struggled to get its feet. But Webb said with encouragement, they’ve improved a tremendous amount in a short time.
“They were inexperienced,” he said of the offensive line. “Some of those kids, it’s the first time playing varsity football. Some kids, like Marcus [Crowell] it’s the first time playing Montclair football. It’s a big step and they handled it well. Through each scrimmage, every day, they’ve improved.”
For Webb, his final season with the Mounties is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a lot of learning. When Webb first was on the freshman team, he said he didn’t know what to expect. But as he got older and matured, he realized the work you had to put in and how you had to approach the game.
“You do, and you learn. So if I do something one year and it doesn’t work, I won’t do it the next year. If I do something and it does work, let’s do it again.”
He’s also learned how to share the spotlight and the carries, because he knows every extra weapon the team has is one defenses have to plan for.
“Josh [Crawford] and Willie [Matthews] are D-1 prospects and to have them in the backfield [with me] just makes our offense better. Teams gameplan around me, Tarrin and all the skills so having [a variety of backs] is just a good thing.”
As Leonardis said, for Webb it’s not about the carries or the yards. There’s only one thing he cares about.
“We’ve worked so hard this summer to get back to MetLife. We want to get there bad.”