The competitive spirit in the Burke Catholic High School football program is serving the team well this season on the often unforgiving proving ground of the football field.
There's plenty of credit to spread around, from the veteran coaching staff, to the team captains on the roster, which includes Paul Grasso (senior, offensive lineman, and linebacker), Dan Weslowski (senior, safety, linebacker, wide receiver, and running back), Matthew Connolly (senior, offensive line ,and defensive line), Marlon Brands (senior, linebacker, defensive line, tight end, and running back), Brendan Durkin (junior, offensive lineman, defensive lineman, and long snapper), and Jackson Hoovler (junior, quarterback).
“The players choose the captains themselves by voting," said Burke Catholic head coach Aaron Hasbrouck. "We usually have four captains. But this year we had a three-way tie for the fourth captain spot, so we chose to have them all as leaders on our team.
“All of these players have contributed heavily to our success so far this year. Paul Grasso has led our team defensively in tackles, alongside Marlon Brands and Dan Weslowski. Jackson Hoovler has thrown for nine touchdowns, 800 yards passing and only three interceptions. Matt Connolly and Brendan Durkin have done a nice job anchoring our offensive and defensive lines.’’
Helping guide the more inexperienced on the roster consistently improve is among the strengths of the six team captains. And it's very important that they do well in their studies.
“We were and still are a fairly young team,’’ Hasbrouck said. “These guys have done a really solid job of getting better week to week and helping our younger guys understand what we need from them as far as energy and effort and execution.
“All of our captains excel in the classroom, with all maintaining above an 85 percent average. Our captains have very good leadership skills for juniors and seniors in high school. They not only care about each other on the field but on a personal level they look out for one another also. When one is having a situation or a bad day they are always there to pick each other up.’’
Through eight regular season games, the Eagles had an overall record of 7-1. Many student athletes besides the captains have positively contributed for Burke.
“Senior running back and linebacker Brendan Tierney has been outstanding, currently leading the Section in touchdowns with 15, eight receiving and seven rushing,’’ Hasbrouck said. “He’s a tremendous athlete who works hard on and off the field and carries a 4.0 GPA in school.’’
(The individual statistics mentioned above are through the first five regular season games. )
“We were and still are a fairly young team. These guys have done a really solid job of getting better week to week and helping our younger guys understand what we need from them as far as energy and effort and execution." --Head Coach Aaron Hasbrouck