DT Tower plays with the mindset of destroy or be destroyed

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The chalk line in the sand that defines accepted and flagged violence in the trenches is a thin one. Tantramar Titan, Riley Tower, a bulldozer of a defensive tackle, tip-toes this line.

“I’m a rough player who will do anything to win. I play a physical game of football, once the helmet and war paint is on it just happens,” reflects the 6 foot, 230-pound bruiser.

The three year Veteran first dawned a helmet nine years ago. As with most kids who played in the Sackville Minor Football Association, Riley aspired to play varsity football with the CFC50 ranked TRHS Titans.

Tower not only made the tough transition from pee wee to high school ball, but trained hard enough to take 72 game reps throughout the season. His freshman year, Tower started at nose tackle and toward the end of the season, filled in at guard when his teammate Ryan Cadman went down with a knee injury.
Tower had taken many reps at the position in practice, but had focused on defensive line.

“It was all new to me,” the sixteen year old recalled. “There was a lot of in the moment learning, so I didn’t excel as much.”

The Titan’s depth chart in his grade 11 year had Tower slated as starting at defensive line, but he was also the primary back up for the entire offensive line. Riley focused on his technique and the other variables to make him better at offensive lineman, should his number be called.

The third game of the season Tower was called upon to fill in at centre, after Kyle Tower broke his hand during week two action. Tower had never played centre, nor taken reps at the position, but had his coaches confidence.

“I had to jump into a position I’d never played before, I knew if I messed up on little thing it would affect the team, but I like being put under pressure and someone had to take the position.”

Heading into his senior season, Tower is preparing to start at both guard and defensive tackle, a challenge for most with the added pressure of mastering two positions. Tower is excited about the challenge and welcomes the opportunity to play as much as he can in what may be his final season of football.

Aside from lifting and playing on New Brunswick’s provincial squad, Tower is focusing on improving his reads at both positions.

“On defence, I really need to focus on reading the guards instead of watching the ball. For O-line, the thing I need to improve the most at is reading the backers. I’m not the best at identifying which is which, and am striving to improve on that.”

One thing Tower doesn’t play on changing is his aggressive style of play. Tower is comfortable among the chaos and violence that occurs between linemen, and is passionate about being a dominant force on either side of the ball.

“I like the thought of coming out of my stance going one on one on the person in front of me and making them look worse that I am. You have to go in with the mindset you’re going to destroy that person, or they’ll destroy you.”

During the season Tower spends 3-4 hours a week doing team and independent film study. He focuses on assessing his opponents tendencies in hopes of gaining a tactical edge in any game situation.

Towers goal for the season is to do what he needs to help his team bring home a third straight championship. Like other returning Titans, he is aware that going undefeated the last two seasons has tattooed a giant target on his back. This fact doesn’t phase the scrappy 16 year old, in fact, he welcomes the added pressure of defending against hungry league rivals, specifically the Riverview Royals.

Looking beyond high school, Tower has begun to concede he may be retiring from the sport he’s played since the age of nine. He is strongly considering becoming a carpenter and isn’t certain if any of the schools offering his trade of choice have an AFL program.

Tower will miss every aspect of football, the hot August camps, driving the blocking sled with teammates, the bonds and friendships, but most of all, he’ll miss the outlet the games violence provides him.

“This could be it for me, I’ve come to accept I’m close to my last game, I’ll miss it, I’ll miss the feeling of the first play of game where you don’t know whats coming, but either do they,” he says. “In my stance, everything is going thru my head at once. I’m thinking about what they’re doing, but at snap, at first contact all butterflies go away, adrenaline pumps faster than anything you’ve ever experienced.”

Riley Tower
6’0, 230 lob

Teams: Tantramar Titans
Official Visits: none
Considerations: none
Commitment: none
Class: 2018

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