Your Prep Sports
There were some difficult moments for West High during a two-win season last fall.
For West High receiver Christian Janis the toughest part of the Trojans 2-7 season a year ago was watching from the sidelines and wondering what he could be doing to help.
A broken collarbone sustained in the first half of the season-opener sidelined Janis for the rest of his junior season.
Relegating a key piece of the Trojan offense a spectator and leaving Janis to ponder what could have been.
“I think the hardest part was just not being able to do anything from the sidelines,” Janis said. “Knowing I could contribute and help but I just couldn’t because of my injury and it was hard watching us lose close games.”
After a painful junior season followed by an offseason of ramped up work on the field and in the weight room Janis finally returned to the football field fully healthy last week.
In his first game in 363 days Janis wasted no time showing what many inside the West High program knew that he could do.
Janis caught six passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns on Thursday in a 28-19 loss to Class 5A seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
“I credit Christian for his work ethic, he had a phenomenal offseason,” West High coach Garrett Hartwig said. “We knew he had that talent and he just didn’t get a chance to show it last year.”
In the season opener Janis showed exactly what West High was missing last season with him on the sideline.
Janis had touchdown grabs of 86, 54 and 24 yards among his six receptions while averaging better than 28 yards per catch.
“It’s honestly been a grind all summer and it feels really good to finally just get on the field and go against somebody else,” Janis said. “It felt really good to be back on the field with my teammates.”
Following his injury last fall Janis enjoyed a breakthrough season on the track last spring when he qualified for the Class 4A state track and field meet in both the 100 and 200 and anchored the Trojans’ 4×100 relay team to a sixth-place finish.
Between the track season in the spring and an offseason dedicated to the weightroom the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Janis enters his final season feeing line a different player.
“I feel much faster than I was last year,” Janis said. “Lifting, we have a really good weight program with coach (Brendon) Panther and it’s really just working hard every morning going in and lifting and trying to get better every day.”
In addition to his receiving duties Janis averaged better than 18 yards on three kick returns in the season opener and also had a tackle.