Athlete of the Week: Poway High’s Washam has breakout game
By Michael Bower
As a freshman at Poway High, Max Washam never imagined he would be playing quarterback for the varsity football team as a junior. He was perfectly happy playing receiver and linebacker at the time.
But when the spring baseball season rolled around and Washam took to the pitcher’s mound, Titans’ coach Damian Gonzalez was watching closely.
“I remember he came up to me in the hall the next day and told me he’d seen me pitch and that I had a good arm, and he wants to try me at quarterback,” recalled Washam. “I told my friends and we laughed. I didn’t really take it seriously. But then I started going to QB meetings and they threw me in there during spring season and I thought I better start learning.”
At first, Washam had a hard time transferring his baseball arm to the quarterback position. He took to the park with some friends to toss the football around and it sure wasn’t pretty.
“I was definitely throwing ducks out there,” he said. “One thing I had trouble with was the ball coming off my fingers.”
But the hard work paid off for Washam. He earned the starting job on the junior varsity team as a sophomore and led the team to a 9-1 record. Now he is starting to find his groove as the starting varsity quarterback.
“We knew he was a really good athlete,” Gonzalez said. “No. 2, he is very smart and obviously those are great characteristics in a quarterback.”
Washam, who stands 5-feet-11 and weighs 163 pounds, had a breakout game in Poway’s 35-6 win over Valley Center last week. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best performance of the year, and especially nice because he threw three interceptions the week before.
For his efforts, Washam is the Velocity Sports Performance Athlete of the Week.
“I get nervous before every game, but after throwing three interceptions the week before it helped me realize that you are going to make mistakes,” he said. “It actually helped me just go out there and do what I know how to do.”
All eyes were on Washam at the beginning of the season, as he was taking over a senior-laden team with high expectations. But even with losses to La Costa Canyon and Oceanside early, Washam has handled the pressure well.
“I have had a lot of learning experiences so far this season,” he said. “But I think I am definitely improving. I feel like with every game I am getting a little better. If we get into the playoffs and see those teams we lost to again, I am going to be ready. I have learned what I should and shouldn’t do.”
Washam will be put to another test Friday night, when the Titans travel to Torrey Pines in a Palomar League showdown.
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