It's unusual for an all-state football player to stop playing the game before college, but that's exactly the case with Willie Bourbon. The 2015 graduate, who led Stevenson to the Class 8A state football championship last fall, has retired from the sport to concentrate on playing baseball at Northwestern University. This will be the first time since second grade that Bourbon won't set foot on the gridiron.
"I bought my helmet from my senior year, and I can look at it now in my room," Bourbon told Pioneer Press
. "It's weird not putting on the pads and working out and trying to get bigger and doing that type of workout."
Bourbon was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Patriots, and last year set school records for passing yards (2,579), completions (201) and attempts (368). He tied the school record for completion percentage as a sophomore (55.4%). Beyond the numbers, Bourbon will be remembered for his leadership, said head coach Bill McNamara.
"Willie always had the physical tools, but he showed tremendous growth in his mental strength in tough situations," McNamara said. "His mental component is what took him from a good football player to a great one."