Freshmen on the Field

By Isabella Longo and Jake Mawhinney
OCT 17, 2018

At St. Thomas Aquinas High School (STA) football has been a timeless tradition. For many years the Raiders have gone on to win state championships and other major titles. Some STA graduates have moved on to play for the National Football League (NFL) and have had immeasurable success there. Alumni, who became NFL players, have come back to STA to contribute their knowledge to up-and-coming players through coaching. The backbone of the Aquinas football is Athletic Director Coach George F. Smith. Over the years he has mentored countless teams, shaped many students, and has coached players that have moved onto the NFL.

The Freshman Football team after game.
Photo: Isabella Longo

STA currently has three football teams. They span from Freshman to Junior Varsity to Varsity. For those who are wondering how they can partake in this tradition and the benefits of Aquinas football, Coach Smith offered advice. This year the freshman football team has a total of sixty-one players, and he described the qualities that they would need to succeed as Raiders. He explained that potential players must realize that it is not just fun-and-games and they must want to “ … come out and learn the game of football.” This suggests that players should keep an open mind and be receptive to coaching instructions. Freshman Football conditioning always begins in August. The intense summer heat coupled with the physical demands that football requires can take a toll even on the best athletes. Yet dedication to the sport is a key to success. Coach Smith stressed the importance of getting into shape before conditioning starts.

Football at STA is rooted in self-respect and respect for others. As a whole, teams win together and lose together. Freshman Football team fullback Captain Paris Fealy Jr. shared his philosophy with Raider Review, “Success is no accident, it is hard work… .”  Most of the time, the freshman team plays against Junior Varsity teams of opposing schools because of the lack of freshman football teams. According to Coach Smith, “They are holding their own.” As always, the goal of Raider football is to win!