WOOD RIVER JCT. — The first name Brine is listed as the 64,911th most popular in the world, according to pokemyname.com.
Brine Wotherspoon’s given name is reason enough for him to stand out on the Chariho High football team.
“My father is Thomas Brine Wotherspoon,” Brine said. “My mom didn't want a junior, so my parents named me Brine Thomas Wotherspoon. It’s an interesting first name. I've been called Brian, Ryan and even Brin, but it's Brine.”
Brine is defined as a salty liquid. It is sometimes used to add flavor to turkey skin. On Thanksgiving morning, Chariho's Brine hopes to continue to add spice to an improving offensive unit that looks to close out the season with a third straight victory, at Narragansett, and third straight win in this relatively new Thanksgiving rivarly.
Wotherspoon, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, is the leading rusher and receiver for the Chargers. Despite the fact the Chargers have struggled most of the year moving the ball — they’ve had to break in a new quarterback and offensive line — Wotherspoon has posted two straight 100-yard rushing games and has totaled a team-high 500 yards rushing and 21 receptions for 256 yards.
While junior Jalen Valentin, a Westerly transfer who gained almost 900 yards last year, came into this season with much fanfare, he has amassed just 200 yards on the ground and has played better on defense. It has been Wotherspoon who’s emerged as the primary weapon for Chariho (3-6).
Chargers coach Rick Martin described Wotherspoon as a thinking-man’s runner who patiently waits for a tackler to commit or blocker to do his job before he makes a cut upfield.
“Brine has really good vision, but he has an even better pre-snap recognition on how defenders will try to attack, who will take what angle and where the void will happen,” Martin said. “He also has a methodical way in which he runs.”
Wotherspoon said the trap play has been the Chargers’ most effective weapon this season, thus necessitating he wait for the moving lineman to throw a block.
“I'm the type of runner who doesn’t shy away from contact,” Wotherspoon said, “but I try to elude the tackler if at all possible.”
Wotherspoon broke free for three touchdowns, giving him four on the season, in Chariho's 26-25 win over Pilgrim. He possesses a combination of power and size along with a burst of speed that allowed him to run 66 yards on one score.
But his greatest contribution doesn’t come from statistics. It comes from his leadership as a captain.
Wotherspoon also plays linebacker, but he admits his most vital contribution comes from the mental aspect of football. He leads vocally and by example on the field, and shows positive role-model characteristics off the field.
“I try to do well on the field and be respectful in the classroom,” Wotherspoon said. “Being a leader means a lot to me. Kids come to talk to the captains and we have to lead by example. I try to do the right thing, which is a quality my parents instilled in me.”
Martin said he appreciates that side of Wotherspoon.
“Brine is a never-quit player and he demands it from others on the field,” Martin said. “So when he tries to get them motivated, it's hard for them to not follow.”
During his Chariho football career, Wotherspoon acknowledged that Chariho’s hiring three coaches in his four years “has been a roller-coaster ride.” Mike Kelly, who led Chariho to its only Division II state title in 2011, moved to Connecticut and resigned after Wotherspoon’s freshman year. Tom Vivirito coached one season when Wotherspoon emerged as a starter in 2015 before he took another job. Martin has coached the last two seasons, going 4-6 last year and hoping to finish with that record again this year.
While the Charger football team has not continued the winning ways Wotherspoon knew while winning Rhode Island championships for the Chariho Cowboys youth football program, he has experienced plenty of success on Chariho’s boys lacrosse team. As a key midfielder, Wotherspoon helped Chariho go 17-0 and win the RIIL Division III title last spring. He reasoned that championships in one sport do not necessarily translate into titles in another.
“Lacrosse and football are two totally different sports,” Wotherspoon said. “I enjoy both sports — I started playing football at age 6 and lacrosse since the fifth grade. It's hard to compare the sports. Lacrosse is a lot more free flowing, whereas in football you have set plays and have more of the aspect of ‘doing your job.’ There are a lot more factors that go into building a championship football team."
With one game left, Wotherspoon is thinking of nothing else than going out a winner before he and his lacrosse teammates look to continue their success in the spring.
”We won our last home game [against Pilgrim], which was special for the seniors,” Wotherspoon said. “Now we can win our last game in high school and continue the three-game winning streak over Narragansett. There's a lot to play for on Thanksgiving.”