Springdale football embraces strongman English
TribLIVE Sports Videos
When Springdale wants opponents to fully comprehend its brutal style of play this fall, it'll send its message in English.
The battering ram and muscle man of the 2013 Dynamos is senior Cory English, a 6-foot, 220-pound fullback and defensive tackle who can bench press 370 pounds, squat 470 and deadlift 525. He lacks a long history as a football player, but he has coaches salivating over his capabilities.
“(On defense), he has the potential to dominate basically anyone that he comes up against,” second-year coach Dave Leasure said. “He's not there yet, but the potential is there. There are still parts of this game that he's working on, but even with technique that's not exactly the way we want it, he stands out.
“We're excited about where he'll be in Week 5 and where he'll be in Week 9 because we think he can be one of the best defensive linemen in the conference.”
Until he hit a growth spurt in sixth grade, English was stumpy. His weight, 150 to 160 pounds even in junior high, exceeded the upper limits in the Allegheny Valley Youth Football Association, so his first year with the sport came in eighth grade.
As a freshman, he chose not to play football. He said he just didn't like it that much.
As a sophomore, English changed his mind. The switch in preference paid off; he started full time on the defensive line for the Dynamos, who reached the WPIAL quarterfinals where they fell to Clairton.
“I remember my freshman year when I came out and saw him as a sophomore,” junior tight end/defensive end Adam Lock said. “He was the guy in the weight room that made all the freshmen go, ‘Wow.' To see him lift, it was kind of intimidating.”
In that 2011 playoff loss, English tore the ACL in his left knee. He had surgery in January 2012, wore a full-leg brace for about two months then endured six months of rehabilitation. Yet by the start of the 2012 football season, his knee still felt weak, so he chose not to play.
“It was tough,” he said, “especially because we had the new coaches coming in.”
Leasure, who replaced long-time coach Chuck Wagner, knew about English but lacked a full understanding of the player's abilities. English worried that he'd fall to the bottom of the depth chart by the time he rejoined the team.
Leasure, however, knew enough about English to eagerly welcome him back to lifting sessions in January. The coach, who suffered an ACL tear in college, sympathized with English's long injury recovery.
The strength and quickness Leasure witnessed in the offseason made him wonder if English, a player with no offensive experience, could contribute to Springdale's rushing attack, which lost standout running back Sean Dugan to graduation in the spring.
“We didn't have that home run hitter like Dugan coming back,” Leasure said. “And knowing the size we have up front ... just thinking about if we had a big back behind that big line, we may not hit a home run every time, but that's the type of offense that can wear a defense down.
“That's the way we play football. We try to control the ball, move the sticks, keep the defense off the field. ... We think Cory can help us achieve that.”
English will leave flashier running styles to senior tailback Matt Mikus and junior fullback Austin Kline. His plan is to plow through the line for short gains.
Offense is English's experiment. Defense is what likely will define his legacy.
“I'm not really one of those linemen who's trying to clog the hole up,” he said. “I'm more trying to get off the guy and make the play.”
Said Leasure: “When teams watch films of our defense, he will be the first guy they say, ‘We need to get that kid blocked.' We have a couple others that will stand out. But just from a matchup perspective, usually your (offensive) guards are smaller than your tackles. Teams might have to switch their guards and tackles when they play us.”
Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BWest_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- WPIAL coaches, QBs have concerns about using newly-approved footballs
- Previewing Week 1 high school football matchups
- Daily News Q&A: McKeesport’s Kameron Bostic
- GCC, Monessen matchup to feature contrasting styles
- Quad North neighbors North Allegheny, Seneca Valley set for opener
- Birdie again up to the challenge
- Connellsville faces tough opening test with No. 5 McKeesport
- Leader Times Q&A: Freeport’s Logan Thimons
- Storylines galore dominate new football season
- DC Picks back for another season
- Big 9 rival Ringgold to challenge Thomas Jefferson in season opener