West, a senior at Brother Martin, has rushed 252 times for 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns. The Crusaders (10-2) play John Curtis at 7 p.m. on Friday at Tad Gormley Stadium in the Division I select playoffs.
What’s it like to be practicing football during the week of Thanksgiving?
It’s great. It’s like a dream come true, honestly. But coach has been drilling it home to us not to forget how we got here. This is just another week. We know it’s a big week and most of us haven’t been here before, but we just want to try to keep going 1-0 each week.
Not many people were talking about Brother Martin when the season started. Now you are one win from the Superdome. How did Brother Martin get it done?
It’s all about the senior leadership. Our senior leadership provided leadership for the whole team, and it has just rubbed off on everybody else. We have just listened to the coaches and just bought into the system.
Before the season started, did you think this team had a chance to be pretty special?
Yes indeed. We thought this could be our year. Coming off a four-win season, you have to have an optimistic view of things, and we took that to the extreme. A guy asked us in the preseason about our expectations and we said ‘state championship,’ and he thought that was kind of big for us. But we know what we can do. This offseason we worked really hard, and when that happens, you see that hard work really does pay off.
How excited are you to be going against a team with so much tradition like John Curtis?
We take it as a challenge. We know they are 26-time state champions. To see how far we have come, we can’t really stop now.
What’s the latest on your recruiting? (West committed to Northern Colorado in June)
I actually just de-committed from them. My family and I just thought it was best that I re-open my recruiting. I have been hearing from Southern Miss, Northwestern (State) and Stephen F. Austin.
Who is your favorite NFL running back and why?
So is that why you wear No. 21?
What do you do before a game to get psyched up?
My folks always laugh about this, but I listen to slow music before a game. It cools me down. I don’t listen to a lot of heavy rap before the game like most people. I listen to PartyNextDoor and The Weekend.
Do you have a nickname?
Bam Bam. My cousin used to call me that because I was a feisty person. Anyway my dad gave me the name J-Rock when I was little.
Who is the best high school player you have faced?
I’d probably say Kenny Young from John Curtis (now playing at UCLA).
Who’s your favorite NFL team?
The Patriots. That was the first team I ever watched.
You have either one or two high school games left. Has that sunk in yet?
I think that’s the main factor why we are still in it. We are doing whatever we can to keep playing.