By Juan Carlos Ramirez ’18
Four football athletes will be attending the Nike Opening regionals in hopes to move on to the National finals.
The Nike Opening is a premier showcase were student athletes can demonstrate their skills and compete to be eligible to be picked for the finals.
The Nike Opening finals include the best student athletes in the nation who test their skills against each other.
Running back Noah Pittenger ’17 and tight end Matthew Kempton ’17 had an impact on last season.
According to Maxprep, Pittenger ended the last season with 12 games played, 1,232 all purpose yards and scored nine touchdowns.
Kempton ended with 11 games played, 405 all purpose yards and scored four touchdowns.
Robert Brooks ’17 faced an injury that cost him most of his season.
“I received a collarbone injury,” said Brooks. “It was a clean break through the bone and it took a long time to recover. I got injured in the third game of the year and came back in the quarter-finals.”
Matt Ryan ’17 was back-up to Harvard bound Cade Knox ’16, which did limit Ryan’s playing time.
Ryan said that he did respect Knox’s way to read the game and make great passes.
“Cade was a great quarterback … He really knew the ins and outs of the playbook,” said Ryan. “Putting touch on the ball, Cade was good at that too. He knew his receivers, knew the play book and that is what I am striving for.”
Some of these players are tactically preparing their body by using an outside trainer, gym and nutrition guide.
“I go to a private trainer up by my house … he played at Ohio University as linebacker,” Pittenger said. “They have several trainers that are really good. They have helped coach me up and put on a bunch of good weight. They are helping me get faster, stronger, quicker and I’m more functional.”
Kempton said that he believes this will be a positive experience, and he will learn a lot from the coaches at this event.
“They talked about how you get a lot of one-on-one experience with some great seasoned people who know what they are talking about,” Kempton said. “Just growing from the experience and mainly learning from it is my main goal.”
This camp does not require any cost which makes it different from other camps.
“It is a big deal because it doesn’t cost anything,” said football coach Mr. Scooter Molander. “On a lot of times on these deal there is that ‘yeah you’ve been invited, but you still have to pay to go to.’ It’s a neat deal for them, and we hope they get better as a result.”
Brooks said he believes that this is only an opportunity for the athlete to get themselves out there.
“It is very good for my experience as well as for all my skills, but it is very much for publicity, seeing coaches and other players there,” Brooks said.
Many of these athlete’s passion began with different roots.
Kempton said he is proud because out of his two older brothers who also attended Brophy, he is the only Kempton to play football all four years.
“ I didn’t really start playing until later years like sixth, seventh or eighth-grade,” Kempton said. “I got attached to it when I saw my brother playing it … both my older ones did play tight end as well, but they quit after their sophomore year. So I’m the first Kempton to play all four years.”
Ryan said his passion began when he saw the movie “Rudy”.
“I started playing when I was about five years old in New York, but my passion really grew after I watched the movie ‘Rudy’,” Ryan said. “‘Rudy’ is a prime example of leadership and unity.”
Pittenger said he has played a variety of sports.
He knew that football was his definitive passion when he started playing it in third grade.
“I started playing it in third grade,” Pittenger said. “I was just really talented from the beginning. Because of that I just acquired a taste for it that I never got rid of … I played soccer, basketball, baseball and now I do track without the other sports … I might have been good at those other sports, but I didn’t have the same passion I had for football.”
Even though Brooks’s father played in the NFL with the Green Bay packers, he didn’t let that influence his decision of playing football.
“He just told me to ‘do what you’re heart desires.’” Brooks said. “‘Whatever you have gift in. Just make sure that you develop that gift, that talent, and do the best you can’. Clearly my gift is athletics. I’m going to let my talent shine through football and track. And hopefully get a scholarship to college on both of them.”
These athletes will be attend different camps that are located in Los Angeles, Houston and Oakland.