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Bulldogs' WR excited for return to gridiron

August 20, 2013
By MATTHEW PEASLEE - Tribune Chronicle ( , Underthelights

POLAND - Just like any kid, growing up in any neighborhood, George Chammas would walk over to his friends' house, knock on the door and ask if he could come outside and play.

He'd usually have an orange Spalding ball in hand, but sometimes it would be a brown Wilson.

"I'd just play catch with friends in the neighborhood and pick-up games here and there," said Chammas, a senior at Poland High School. "Most of the time it was just basketball. That was my favorite sport."

It's also his best sport.

Chammas has been a starter on the Bulldogs basketball team for the past two seasons and is one of the team's leading scorers. On Feb. 8, he made the game-winning basket in triple overtime to beat archrival Canfield in a crucial late-season game.

But in the back of his mind he knew something was missing.

Chammas had played flag football in youth leagues and for the little Bulldogs until eighth grade. Then, he focused on basketball.

"Basketball was just my first love," Chammas said. "I'm proud of what I've done with the sport and this winter will be a great time again. I just missed football. I was thinking about playing my junior year but didn't, and I realized that was a bad mistake."

Now, in his final year of high school, he's back on the gridiron and ready to make an impact.

"I just talked to some of the guys about it and they went with it," Chammas said. "Coach (Mark) Brungard was on board and excited, too."

Nobody was more happy than the Bulldogs quarterback (and small forward).

"I've been trying to get him to come out for a while now," senior QB Jacob Wolfe said. "He's a perfect fit for football because he's such a good athlete. He'll see a lot of time and be dangerous for us."

Chammas will be a starting wide receiver alongside Art Duran and Tyler Evan.

"We have a lot of weapons out there," Wolfe said. "We've been strong on offense the past couple of years and we look to be strong again."

Wolfe is a two-sport star, himself. For the longest time, basketball was his go-to, though, and where he saw his brightest future. He plans on being a college quarterback next year.

It used to be basketball by a lot, but now it's football. Real close.

"A 6-foot-4 guard in college doesn't really translate," he said. "A 6-4 QB is more ideal, and I actually think that's where I'd be more comfortable."

Austin Wilson, a Poland safety, is also a senior starter on the Bulldogs basketball team. There are three sophomores out for football who also play junior varsity basketball.

Chammas admits there were many challenges trying to get back in the game. He can handle the basics - like catching and communicating - and there weren't any problems with the early morning practices.

"The biggest part was the weight lifting and some of the constant running, so all of the conditioning was new," Chammas said. "It was tough, but I could fight through it."

It also took him a little while to learn the playbook. But Duran and Evan were there to help him, just like they were when he needed someone to play catch with as a youngster.