New face on varsity gives Knights' football added push they need on defense

PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Usually when you make the varsity team for a sport, you’ve played said sport for a while.

But sometimes hard work and natural talent can produce the same results. That’s the case for Colony senior John Kelsey. Kelsey spent the past two years in Hong Kong, where he played basketball.

But when he came back to Alaska for his senior year of high school, he set a goal: Make the varsity football team.

“(I) wasn’t sure how he was going to do first year, but he’s always worked hard,” fellow linebacker and longtime friend Zane Vrvilo said. “Even back in 7th grade when he was here.”

“After we evaluated his skill level, we moved him up to the varsity level,” defensive coordinator Todd Beranek said. “And he continued to be a surprise and just an asset to the team.”

“I had to work my butt off to get on varsity and I’m glad to be here,” Kelsey said with a grin. “Glad to play with my teammates, my family. It’s an experience.”

Kelsey quickly proved that despite having never played high school football, he was an asset the Knights didn’t know they needed.

“His understanding of the game and his understanding of how to use his skills already, it’s just a great thing to have,” Beranek said.

As the Knights look to make a push into the postseason, Kelsey and his teammates lean on each other, with Kelsey thankful to be a part of it all.

“If no one works together, if no one is doing their job, we’re not successful,” Kelsey said. As a friend and as a brother to these teammates, it’s good to play, learn, and be a part of Colony High School.”

Colony faces Wasilla Friday night, in Channel 2's Tailgate Tour game of the week.

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