By Michael Boytim
After taking a hard hit or making a big play a high school football player often will look to the stands to search out some family and give them a reassuring smile.
All Cory Waltman has to do is look to the sidelines.
Everett's senior utility man is entering his final season, but he won't be the only Waltman in the locker room for the Warriors on Fridays. His father, Tom is the head coach.
''[Coaching Cory] is pretty special,'' Tom Waltman said. ''It's a pretty unique situation I guess; not a lot of coaches get that opportunity, but I'm excited we have that opportunity.''
For the Waltman's final year together in the Everett program to be successful, Cory, among others, will need to take a step forward from a team that went just 2-8 in 2007.
One of the things that the tandem has in their favor is Cory's versatility.
''Offensively he can play anywhere in the backfield,'' Tom Waltman said. ''He's been at quarterback, halfback, fullback and split end for us. Defensively we put him at strong safety, and that's probably where he's the best asset.''
The younger Waltman is looking forward to the chance to improve upon a defense that allowed an average of 28.25 points per game in Everett's eight losses last year.
''I love playing safety,'' Cory Waltman said. ''I'm a defensive guy. We just need more unity among grade levels. We have such big classes and are kind of individualized.
''We need to come together a bit, and that's what we've been trying to do all summer.''
Though official practices could not begin until Aug. 11, Cory Waltman and his senior teammates have been preparing for what they hope will be a successful sendoff for a class that's suffered its fair share of defeats.
''We had a mini camp [Aug. 5], and everyone already knows the plays,'' Cory Waltman said. ''We didn't need any coaching to tell us to be prepared. We actually have been coaching ourselves right now.''
Now that official practices have begun and his father can step in, Cory didn't exactly say things would be easier.
''It's a lot of fun [to play for his dad], but he's a little bit harder on me,'' Cory Waltman said. ''He's always been harder on me. It's fun, and it has its advantages, but it has a lot of disadvantages too.''
When a father coaches a son, one of the possible disadvantages is a perceived notion that the coach will favor his son and put him in a position he or she doesn't necessarily earn, but Tom Waltman said that's never been a problem at Everett.
''Some people have asked if there's ever been a problem with that before,'' Tom Waltman said. ''I look at it as I need to put him in a position to help this team get better and win football games.
''He's not a selfish player, he doesn't point the finger at any player on the field, and he's a very good team player. That helps a lot.''