Trib HS Insider Q&A: North Allegheny's Brendan Coniker
Brendan Coniker is one of only two North Allegheny players (Patrick Kugler is the other) who started on the Tigers' 2010 PIAA Class AAAA championship team. The 6-foot, 190-pound senior, a Richmond recruit, has 20 receptions for 383 yards and five touchdowns, along with two interceptions this season. The Tigers are 44-2 in his three seasons as a starter.
Q: What's it been like to be a three-year starter at NA?
A: I definitely feel blessed that I've been given an opportunity and was one of the two guys that's been able to start all three years. I definitely worked hard. Sophomore year, my first varsity start, I was nervous. I didn't know what to expect and was uncomfortable. Now I know what to expect, what's expected of me every game.
Q: On which side of the ball will you play in college?
A: Defense. I'm definitely real comfortable with the cornerback position. I can cover the best receiver on the team. I can play the field. I can lock down on the other receivers. I know what to expect from playing the receiver position. I know what they're going to do sometimes.
Q: How often do you hear about your controversial catch in the 2011 WPIAL final at Heinz Field?
A: I hear about that a lot. People always joke about it. When we went back this year, people said they lined the field three more feet, just for me. Last year, there were definitely a lot of comments after the game. It wasn't my call. I saw the replay and how I was clearly out of bounds. I kept my mouth shut. It wasn't my fault the ref made a bad call. Fortunately, it was in our favor.
Q: What's it going to be like returning to Hershey?
A: It's definitely an unbelievable feeling, being my senior year and everything. It's nice to go there again. We know what to expect. We have to keep our focus and treat it like any other game now. That's our goal every year. Last year, we fell short, and we were angry about that. We wanted to make sure we got back this year. It's all about football. Strictly business. We're there for one thing and one thing only: We're there to play and win the game. We put aside all the distractions and focused on winning.
Q: Did you get to eat some chocolate in 2010?
A: I ate some after the game, when people were throwing Hershey's kisses. I was catching them and picking them up. Oh yeah, definitely, they tasted better because it was in Hershey, and we won.