Game Summaries & Headlines.
Earliest memory of football?
David: The one game I remember was a Giants/Redskins game. I would go outside and try to mimic things with my brother. I wanted to play for the Redskins.
Jackson: I was 4 or 5 and my parents took me to my first Redskins game and I got to meet Sean Taylor and Clinton Portis.
Connor: When I was 4 or 5, my family would watch the Ravens games. The intensity, everyone screaming- it’s awesome. I liked Ray Lewis a lot. Joe Flacco has lost his luster these days, though. They seem to be rebuilding.
Jack: The Super Bowl between the Steelers and Cardinals. It was one of the greatest of all time. I wanted to play football soon after and be in the NFL one day. These days, I think it would be cool to play college football somewhere.
When did you begin playing football?
David: I never played in a league when I was younger, but I first played at first in middle school for Parkside.
Jack: I started when I was nine years old playing tackle football.
Connor: I was 9 or 10. I saw everything on TV and wanted to do it, so I played for the MPYFL. I wanted to play defense primarily. I get real intense before games, and have a nose for the ball which helps me make a lot of tackles.
Jackson: Tackle, I was in fifth grade. But for flag, I played it in second grade. I wanted to pay in college and the NFL.
When they told you that you were a captain, what did it mean to you?
Jackson: That meant a ton to me. I strive to be the best I can. Whether through actions or words, I want to be a positive example for others. It was a huge honor. There is a bit of pressure because every move is watched- you can’t mess up. When Smoot went down, I pulled everyone together to say a prayer as a team. We got together and knew we had to get the win for him. He’d scored two touchdowns and we knew we had to pick up the slack.
Tobias: I just needed to keep doing what I do and what’s best for the team. I feel no pressure. I just think that it’s me. That’s just who I am.
Connor: It’s a big responsibility. Leading the team, everyone looks up to you. I’m up to the challenge. It’s different. There was pressure at first but now it’s just a role. Just do it.
David: It meant a lot to me to be able to lead a team. To be a figure to the younger players and do it alongside Jack, Jackson, Tobias and Connor means so much. The coaches saw something in me and that gives me confidence.
Jack: It means a lot to be looked at as a leader, and that much more motivation to play even harder.
What has the coaching staff at OP taught you?
David: I have learned a lot. They have had a lot of composure, and I am grateful that they have stuck with us with all we have been through these last few years.
Tobias: That as a captain, we have a responsibility and we decide which way the team progresses as a whole. Attitude comes in a lot because it sets the tone for the team.
Jack: Don’t give up. Persistence is key. If you want something, you’ll have to work at it. Don’t let negative experiences change you. Our motto is “FIGHT” this season. In practice we have the mentality that we won’t let down. If we are down or if we are up, we’ll fight for all 48 minutes.
Connor: They have taught us a lot of life lessons. You have to get back up when you get knocked down, keep fighting through adversity and eventually things will go your way. We have had guys go down, but it’s always next man up. It was tough to see Smoot get hurt, but we always continue to fight.
Jackson: Ever since I was on varsity, I have had Coach Evans. Defensive wise, Coach Reid. Not just with positions, but life lessons. Every Thursday we watch an inspirational movie like Rocky III or We Are Marshall. Those are my favorites. He gives us inspirational talks and it gets us really pumped.
What are some of your favorite hobbies?
Jack: Golf, Madden, customizing shoes. I might make it into a side gig in the future. Jackson and I used to be big into it a few years back. We called it East Coast Customs. You need paints, a heat gun, different adhesives, acetone, etc. Outside of football and school, we hang out a lot. We go to the movies, bowling, backyard football- we are around each other a lot outside of school.
Connor: I like hiking. I like hanging out with my friends, going out to eat at I-Hop, swimming, going to the gym and staying active in general.
David: I like to stay active- hang out with friends. Go outside, play basketball and football.
Jackson: I like video games- racing ones a lot. I love sneakers I collect and work on. When you detail shoes, you have to be different and stand out to get people’s attention- not what everyone else is doing. We bond a lot outside of football. Back in February, the team went to Uptown Alley and did bowling then “coaches versus players” laser tag. I feel I’m the best bowler (laughs). Smoot is really good, and tries to tell us he bowls professionally.
The team's rallying cry this season has been "fight". (photo via Brian Westhoff)
What are some of your goals for the season?
David: I wanted to have a strong year and help change the program a little bit and get some exposure. For the team, was to have a winning record, win the homecoming game, the district and a championship. As of now, we are playing for pride. I want to play at the next level.
Tobias: I have had high hopes for the team as a whole. We just want to win and finish strongly. Individually, keep pushing the team and getting better at my position and as a leader.
Connor: We just wanted to get a win, and keep the train rolling. We have two more games and I think they are very winnable. Patriot is a challenge but they are beatable. Osbourn is an excellent opportunity to finish off the season strong.
Jackson: I want us to win the final two games and get my first touchdown in tackle football. I haven’t had one on either side of the ball before. I don’t want to play in the NFL anymore. Jack and I did a project on CTE last year and woke me up to certain things. I want to open up my own business I have different ideas.
Favorite memory of this season?
Connor: Watching those final seconds tick off our first win in two seasons was unbelievable. I was on the ground and the feeling meant so much. So much time and effort in the offseason- it was the best feeling ever. Myself, Jackson and Jack are a handful of guys who have been a part of all 3 wins. My performance in the Herndon game sticks out, and when I had the TFL for -2, it was my best play this year.
David: It meant a lot to be a part of all three wins. Beating Stonewall that feeling and everyone cheering us on Monday at school. When I recovered the fumble versus Herndon, and when I intercepted Gar-Field before the half. It felt really good and they were in the redzone and it stopped them. It was a huge relief.
Jackson: The two wins we’ve had I’ll always remember, and the feeling it gave me.
What are your academic goals?
David: I just want an opportunity to play, and study kinesiology. I want to either be a trainer, so sports marketing- there’s a multitude of things I want to do. Physical therapy, sports medicine.
Tobias: Academically I want to keep striving keep my grades up. Tech, VCU. If I get a scholarship that would be fantastic but I mainly want to focus on academics. I want to study biology pre-med. I enjoy science, how the body works and medicine.
Jack: I want to go to JMU or Christopher Newport. JMU more for education. I’ve been talking to the coaches at CNU. In terms of a degree, I would want to study computer engineering. A lot of jobs are opening up in that field, and I think it’s a good skill to have to stand out.
Connor: Virginia Tech to study engineering. Or JMU, UVA or CNU. I want to go into an engineering firm and study mechanical engineering, work my way up and make lots of money. I might do club sports at school but not as a full-time athlete.
Jackson: I want to go to Virginia Tech or JMU, and get a degree in business so I can put all my ideas into action.
Who are your role models?
Tobias: My parents, and also Ray Lewis and Malcolm X.
Jack: My parents have influenced me a lot and I look up to them.
Connor: My dad, he just taught me to fight through things and taught me a lot of lessons and a lot about football.
David: My parents because of how they raised me to be the person I am and how that translates to the person I am on the field.
Jackson: My parents and my grandparents have all taught me so much about life in general.
Tobias: Healthy- peanut butter Cliff bars. Unhealthy, Reese’s Cups.
Jack: Fruit snacks.
David: I like everything. (laughs)
Jackson: Oreos have always been my favorite. My grandmother mails me a package every time. I love the mint ones.
Favorite television show/movie?
Tobias: Dragonball Z and Star Wars (the original).
David: Empire. I like the storylines and it’s very dramatic.
Connor: South Park. It’s funny- and Friday the 13th.
Jackson: Sports, no favorite shows. I like Forrest Gump- it’s a classic.
Connor: Physics and math- I like how challenging they are. I don't like Spanish. I don’t get it. It’s hard.
Jack: History and Science. I like to see how people reacted to things and how it could be implemented in the present day. I don't like math. My brain doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t appeal to me.
Jackson: I love my entrepreneurship class and English. I want to use my ideas and put them into action. I love writing, and I get it from my mom. I get the entrepreneurship from my dad. He has taught me different business skills like writing business plans and other leadership skills. I don’t like hard math, like AP Statistics.
Favorite NFL team?
Tobias: Dallas Cowboys.
Jack: The Steelers.
Connor: The Ravens.
David: The Redskins.
Jackson: the Redskins.
Jackson: Josh Norman and Kirk Cousins. I like how Cousins leads the team and Norman is so intense. I try and replicate that on the field.
Jack: Troy Polamalu. Right now, Ryan Shazier. He seems like a different kind of linebacker.
Connor: Jimmy Smith (cornerback) and Kyle Juszczyk (fullback) on the Ravens.
David: DJ Swearinger, Larry Fitzgerald and Earl Thomas.
Tobias: Troy Aikman. I’m a diehard fan. I started with the Romo era, but got into the history of them and really enjoy his game.
What are you expecting in your final two games versus Patriot and Osbourn?
Tobias: I expect us to finish strong, that is our number one goal. It’s starting to hit me now, but it will hit me even harder as we approach the games.
Jack: It’s kind of weird. Trying not to think of it too much. I’m going to give it as much as I have, and I want it to turn out well. In the end, it will all be fun.
David: It’s been hitting me for a while. These are our last two promised games. When I think about it I get sad- but I’m ready to leave it all on the field.
Jackson: Right before Battlefield, it began to hit me. With us losing by only 3 to Osbourn, we are hungrier than ever to beat them when we play them.
Connor: Patriot will be a challenge for sure, but they can be beaten. We just need to play smart and for all four quarters. Osbourn at home will be our last game, and we just look to finish with two wins. It has begun to hit me and I’m sure it will hit me even harder once the season is over.
What is the transition like between playing offense and defense, and which do you prefer?
Tobias: I’m primarily on offense in games, but in practice I enjoy defense because there’s more freedom. Having a whole lot of responsibilities on the line. Just knowing you are the center of everything and you start everything. Snapping, blocking, and driving the offense. When I started, timing was difficult- but now it comes differently. The offseason 7-on-7 drills helped a lot.
David: Keeping up the energy so you can breathe and push through on both sides of the ball can be tough, especially when you have to play special teams- but as a captain I set an example and can’t make any excuses.
Jack: I prefer playing linebacker. I feel like I am better at it. You need to stay in shape and go both ways on the field. You need to be able to keep that energy.
Jackson: I love playing both sides. The only thing I have difficulty with is the tiredness in the fourth quarter. You really have to give it your all, especially in tight games.
Connor: I prefer defense, always have with all the energy and intensity I bring. It is more natural for me.
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