The Dunmore senior had 78 yards rushing an a touchdown, 27 yards receiving, and averaged 37.5 yards on his 10 punts in a state semifinal loss to Southern Columbia.
Other sports you play: Baseball
Any superstitions or rituals? The whole team, we usually go to a certain tree to pray before every game. It’s the tree that one of the teams planted for Billy Ruddy after he passed away.
Favorite teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Penn State football, New York Yankees.
Athletes you admire: I’ve always liked Hines Ward, when I was a kid. My mom, when I first started to like the Steelers, she bought me a Hines Ward jersey. I’ve owned probably like 20 of them since I was little. I always outgrew them, so she just kept buying me a new one.
Three people you’d like to have dinner with: Kevin Hart, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Tobey Maguire.
Favorite food: It’s kind of hard because I like everything. Favorite food … probably venison.
When you guys forced that turnover on the first play of the game then get a quick touchdown, what’s the feeling on the sideline? Everyone was cheering. It was great. It gave the impression to the other team that it’s going to be a tough, physical game. We set the tone. I think that we kept that tone up throughout the whole entire game.
What do you think changed that Southern Columbia started to pull away? They definitely had height on us. Their wide receiver was taller and a little faster than our guys. They had good skill.
Your punting played a pretty big role in the game, too. And you don’t really punt too much in the regular season, right? No, I don’t. That was the most punts I’ve had in a game all season. We still work on it two or three days out of the week at practice, so it wasn’t that difficult. Toward the end, I had a few iffy punts.
What’s that feeling like, to have an impact on a game where you can switch fields with a kick? It makes you feel like you’re contributing more than you thought you were in the game.
Your starters don’t play much more than one half in games during the regular season. How do you flip the switch come playoff time? We always keep up our mental toughness. We do run a lot. There’s some days where we ran every day during practice; there’s some weeks we run one or two. But even though we always keep in shape, we’re always lifting, we’re always running, you’ve still got to keep saying in your head, “I can do it. I’ve got to give what’s left. All the gas in the tank.” Keep it going however long you play. Whether it be one quarter or four quarters.
That’s kind of your game. You had your share of big runs, but you’re the big bruiser of the group. What’s that feeling like when you do run somebody over? I love it. I’ve always been a little rougher. I didn’t play well (when I was younger). I always got too rough and ended up hurting someone. So, football was a good way to incorporate that. When you knock somebody over, you feel tough, you feel great. But you also have to have good sportsmanship. After you knock somebody over, after you have a good block and put them on the ground, when the play is over, help them up. Don’t just step over or be a jerk to them.
Do you have a favorite run from the season? The one on Friday. My 65-yarder. Because that was my very last play in my very last game my senior year. I felt like that was a great way for me to go out; a great way to show that, even though we were down by 45 points, that you still have to give your best effort. Coach is always talking about senior leadership: what are you going to give these younger guys to remember? I feel like I gave them something to remember. I gave my best effort. I ran as fast as I could and I put my best foot forward. I hope I showed the younger kids to never give up and do the same when they’re in my position.
I was told to ask about your grandpa. What’s his story? He was a big name when he played football for Dunmore. Thomas Coar. He left his legacy. Him and Ron Dushney, who played for Notre Dame, my grandfather, his senior year, he hit Dushney so hard that it broke both their helmets and gave them both concussions and put them both in the hospital. And it was all over the news and in the papers. I still have the articles. I actually did a project on it, like a reflections project, when I was younger. He’s probably one of, if not my biggest, idol because I see what he contributed and the legacy he left. I won’t lie: I have tried to live up to him. I’ve tried hitting people — I didn’t aim to break their helmets — but I’ve tried hitting them hard to leave an impression. But, my actual goal was … alright this is what he did; I want to try to do the same and be like him. Leave an impact on the team and the town that you’ve known your whole entire life. Let people know what Dunmore truly is.
Was he at your games? Was that a big thrill for you? He’s been to every single one of my games since I played pee wee football. If not every game, then a good 99 percent.
Could he still take a hit? Oh, he’s the toughest guy I’ve ever met.
So, you were a fullback for those guys — Lasher, Holmes and Murray. You kind of took on a new role this season. This was the most times you’ve carried the ball, right? By far.
Was that fun for you? Yeah. I started as a fullback when I was a freshman for our freshman team. That was my very first year. All before that, I was a lineman. So, I didn’t have a chance to carry the ball. I hoped to get one touchdown before I graduated. And then one turned into 19. It was a great opportunity and I’m very thankful that the coaches gave me the opportunity to show what I’m capable of.