Sam Eckert, Archbishop Spalding, football

Q&A --

September 13, 2006|By Pat O'Malley

A two-way lineman and two-year starter for the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference champion Cavaliers, Sam Eckert also plays lacrosse. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound senior has a 3.5 grade point average and is a member of the National Honor Society and the Ski Club.

What about an encore for the football team that set a school record for wins (10-1)?

Oh yeah, definitely. Last year we had a bunch of great seniors, and this year we have a few kids coming back and are really working hard. Coach [Mike] Whittles keeps telling us we need to go for the repeat.

Any pressure to repeat?

There's always going to be pressure, no matter what you're doing. Basically, we were pretty much underrated last year. ... Even again this year, even though we won, we still feel like we're the underdogs [ranked No. 15 in the final poll last year, not ranked to start the season]. Hopefully, we can get the repeat.

Do linemen get the credit they deserve?

We joke about it in practice [whether backs and others get more], but we're all working for the same thing. Credit is not a big deal once you get to the big picture.

Do the Spalding linemen hang out with the backs and ends?

Oh yeah, definitely. We're a pretty close group.

What gives you a rush as a lineman?

It doesn't have to be like a huge play, just getting 5 yards every play. That's basically the rush. In the championship game [35-10 victory over Boys' Latin] being able to move the ball the way we did was such a thrill.

Do you have any superstitions?

No, I really don't think that has anything to do with winning or losing. Preparation is the biggest thing. I try to keep superstitions out of it.

Mental and physical preparation?

Yeah, definitely. Getting enough sleep, making sure everything is done like homework and stuff. So you have nothing else to worry about when game time comes.

What are your favorite classes and what do you hope to do in college?

I like economics and English, and writing is kind of interesting. I will probably study business or economics.

What is the best book you have read recently?

This summer I read The Hot Zone [a New York Times best-seller by Richard Preston], on the spread of diseases like Ebola and Hot Agent 4. It was pretty interesting.

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