Last season, the Booker T. Washington Eagles went a perfect 6-0 in 4A Region III District 11. They made it to playoffs but lost a close one in the first round to Brazosport. This season with a new coach and younger players, BTW hopes to return to the playoffs and rewrite history in their favor.
Leading the defense this year is a talented senior at the safety position, Avery Ina.
“He means a lot to this team, leading the defense,” said BTW head coach Don Holloway. “He’s a returning starter who played outside linebacker last season, but we’ve moved him to safety this season. We have a lot of freshmen this year, but he makes sure they know what they’re doing as they move fast and it’s 11 hats to the ball.”
Ina began playing football when he was five years old, with the Atascocita Titans in Humble Area Youth Football.
“Watching football young, and seeing the passion that grown men had for the game, motivated me to want to do something with my life,” said Ina.
Ina went on to play at Woodcreek Middle School. He played his freshman year at Summer Creek in Humble ISD, but in his sophomore season, he moved to Washington in HISD and was given the opportunity to play varsity.
“It was a different experience, as a sophomore playing varsity, I was nervous playing with upperclassmen. I didn’t really know the system or scheme in detail, but it was good. It was a good experience for me,” said Ina.
After the Eagles capped off a perfect season in district, with several win margins over 40 points, Ina was nominated second-team all-district.
“I feel like I got cheated, but I told myself that I was going to come out this year and make a name for myself and make sure I got first-team all-district this year,” said Ina.
To improve his skill level and accomplish his goal, during the off-season Ina found inspiration from several NFL athletes.
“I studied Kam Chancellor, Ray Lewis, Brian Dawkins, Sean Taylor, and Ed Reed,” said Ina. “I stayed in the weight room to get stronger and worked with my teammates to build team chemistry. I also worked with the ladder and cone drills to improve my speed and agility.”
Ina plans to study business and marketing with hopes of one day owning his own clothing line. And although he has not committed to a college, he does want to play football at the collegiate level.
“I’m looking for a team that has a family atmosphere, competing for championships and a place where I can play ball and have fun,” said Ina.
Looking back over his career, Ina hopes to inspire the next wave of defensive leaders to put in the work and get the most out of their game.
“It isn’t easy. It’s a grind every day. Yes, you’re going to have disagreements with teammates and coaches, but at the end of the day, you all have the same goals: win, make the playoffs and compete for a state championship,” said Ina.
About Avery Ina
Height & weight: 6-feet-1, 190 pounds
Players he studies: Kam Chancellor, Ray Lewis
Favorite artist: New Edition
Favorite subject: English
Shout-outs: Mom, dad, Coach Holloway, teammates