Johnny Spinner makes sure he gives back to those who have helped him out, specifically his offensive line.
The senior running back for the Olentangy Berlin football team has a get-together every Sunday at his home with his offensive lineman, thanking them for the job they do every week as well as eating wings and pizza while watching NFL games.
"Every Sunday I have the linemen over," he said. "It started Week 3. I will get 200, 250 wings and some pizza and we can watch the NFL on TV. I want to keep our relationship strong, which is the way it should be. I try to keep it just to the O-line because they do a lot for me."
Spinner has rushed for 472 yards and four touchdowns on 129 carries for the Bears, who are 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the OCC-Cardinal Division. Last fall, he rushed for 781 yards and eight touchdowns on 191 carries to earn honorable mention all-league.
"Johnny brings a quiet toughness to the team," coach Mark Nori said. "He's not a rah-rah guy. He doesn't scream and yell and do all of those things, but he does that with his play.
"With his strength and conditioning and the way he takes care of his body, he has an edge on the players that are trying to bring him down. He's a fall-forward kind of guy and a drag-defenders-downfield kind of guy."
The Bears won their third consecutive game by holding off Hilliard Darby 16-12 on Oct. 4 in league play. Spinner rushed for 58 yards on 17 carries.
"To have 70 or 80 guys out there and everyone is on the same page, playing together as a group is the most fun," he said.
Spinner also enjoys the preparation, and he made the most of his offseason workouts by putting on 15 pounds of muscle. At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, he lifts 405 pounds in the bench press, 450 in the squat and 500 in the deadlift.
"Johnny is our leading lifter in all categories," Nori said. "He lifts more than our linemen. He's incredibly strong but maybe just as important is the way he takes care of his body.
"He's always looking for the right balance of protein and carbohydrates and eating properly and sleeping properly. For an 18-year-old kid, that's amazing and it adds to the lifting and running he does. When he does it for an hour or an hour and a half in the weight room, he still does the right thing when he sits down to eat."
Spinner said that focus came from last season when the Bears finished 1-9 overall and 0-7 in the OCC-Cardinal. That experience ate at him throughout the offseason and spurred him on in the weight room.
"As soon as last year was over, everyone knew 1-9 was obviously not good enough," he said. "It's not good at all.
"We had 40 to 50 guys showing up for open lifts, even guys who were in-season (for other sports) were showing up. As soon as summer rolled around, the workouts we did as a team were brutal. Everyone kind of focused on the goal of taking everything day by day and week by week."
This week, Berlin plays host to Hilliard Bradley on Friday, Oct. 11, in OCC-Cardinal play. The Jaguars are 1-5 overall and 1-2 in the league after losing to Dublin Scioto 38-36 on Oct. 4.
Spinner said success is determined by offseason workouts and everyday practice.
"Coach Nori stresses practice doesn't make perfect but it makes permanent," said Spinner, who wants to play football at the next level but has not made a college decision. "If you practice the wrong way, that's what will show up on Friday night. If you practice the right way and keep doing the right stuff that will kick in on Fridays."