Senior Paritee brings leadership to young GV offense preparing for Edinboro


GVL \ Marc Green

Kellen Voss, Sports Editor

Outside of the practice field and the locker room, there are not many times in life when over 125 college players manage to fit in a room together, but the Grand Valley State University football team did just that this past weekend, as they fit their entire team in one theater at Celebration Cinema to watch the latest Seth Rogen comedy, “Good Boys.”

“We had the opportunity to give the guys a Saturday night off, get pop and popcorn and watch a good sophomoric comedy,” said head coach Matt Mitchell. “It’s just a chance for guys to kick back and be teammates, we had the whole theater to ourselves, so we didn’t have to worry about disrupting the crowd.”

Outings like that to build team chemistry are huge for this young team, especially on the offensive side, as there are only two seniors on the first and second teams combined within that unit.

One of those seniors who has already shown excellent leadership skills both on and off the field is wide receiver Austin Paritee, who is taking things day-by-day with his young teammates.

“Our offense is kind of young, but we got guys working hard,” Paritee said. “It’s a blessing to come out here every day with a lot of energy. We’re just trying to find ways to get better each and every day. We’re still not tired yet, and we’re still trying to find ways to prepare for that opener.”

Paritee proved to be a quality No. 2 option in the passing game last season who can now become the main option through the air, as 53 catches for 962 and nine touchdowns helped him earn All-GLIAC honors.

With the opener against Edinboro coming up fast, Paritee has put his leadership skills to work among his position group. He is drawing techniques from his former roommate and teammate to show these young guys how to commit to being successful.

“Nick (Dodson) and I came in as freshmen roommates, and we’ve been best friends the whole time he was here,” Paritee said. “Just watching him and how he carries himself, I always used to call him the ‘young veteran’ because he was always professional about everything he did. I take that example that he showed me and I try to implement it to the younger guys. Sometimes it’s hard, but when you have guys above you that can show you the way, it helps you when your time comes to be that leader.”

That poise and lunch-pale attitude that Dodson and Paritee carried themselves with is a great way to lead young men, and as Mitchell has seen with Paritee and a junior running back, it’s clear that these professional approaches do not go unnoticed.

“From a leadership standpoint, Austin Paritee has been thrust into that position,” Mitchell said. “The other guy who has earned that right even though he didn’t play last year is Bryce Young-Wallace. They are both natural leaders, and (quarterback) Cole Kotopka has done an unreal job. He’s had some offensive-only meetings and players-only meetings where he has addressed some stuff, and we need these guys to lead the way because we are very young offensively.”

When it comes to preparing for the season opener Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. at Lubbers Stadium, Paritee and the Lakers haven’t started specifically game-planning against Edinboro just yet. The team is just trying to improve as football players and controlling what they can control before worrying about their opponent.

“Right now, it’s more general preparation (for Edinboro),” Paritee said. “We’re trying to be the best we can be. At the end of the day, it comes down to how good we play every game. We’ll start preparing more next week, but as of right now, Grand Valley is trying to be the Grand Valley we can be.”