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Today’s features Panas co-captain Dan O’Connell…
Name: Daniel O’Connell
School: Walter Panas High School
Jersey number: 35
Offensive position: Tight end
Defensive position: Middle linebacker
What is your favorite part about football?: Football’s is unlike any other sport, many people consider high school the best four years of their life because of this sport. The fans, the excitement and all the physical action on the field just creates a feeling no other sport can create.
What do you do to prepare for games?: Theres obviously the five practices during the week where the team prepares mentally and physically for the upcoming team. Individually, all it takes is to have attitude to win the game, not the typical “we’re going to lose” attitude that’s been shared too often at Walter Panas for generations.
What did it mean to be named a captain?: To me, it was a sign of relief. I spend countless hours in the weight room and gaining weight, working on my strength and conditioning. When I was named captain it meant that my work on the field and off the field paid off. It’s a sign of respect.
As a captain, what will it take to be a leader?: As my coaches even reminded me today, there’s a lot of bad captains out there. To be a good captain, you need to set an example, as my coach reminded me. Say, “How about I take the balls today rather than ordering someone else to take them.” I need to earn my teammates respect and make them look up to me, not despise me.
Who is your team’s best teammate? Why?: It’s hard to name a best teammate. We’re only as good as our worst player. To me, a captain shouldn’t be able to name a best teammate. We’re all talented in different areas, that’s why it takes 11 men to man the field and not one.
Who is the best athlete on your team? Why?: Once again, this is very similar to the previous question. Every teammate is talented in different areas. We have muscular teammates. We have tall players. We have strong kids. It just depends what constitutes the best athlete. No single player has it all.
Who is your funniest teammate?: Here’s the area with a few kids of talent. There’s Zach Leblanc, who constantly brings up the embarassing moments of someone’s life that is always hilarious. Jeremy Guerrero, the kid who makes fun of my red hair. John DiMarco, the teammate that embarasses himself for the pleasure of the rest of the team.
What are your team’s goals for the season?: There’s always one goal, in addition to having a positive record, and that is to BEAT LAKELAND.
What will it take for you to achieve them?: A lot of teammates worked out and gained weight while maintaining their athleticism thanks to Greg Carrasquillo, who was a huge help to our program. We need to excersize our strengths on offense and master our completely new offense and defense, due to the new coaching staff.
After high school, what’s your next step?: There was talk and hope of football on the collegiate level, but for now my hard work in the classroom over the past few years is going to get me into the best academic school I can get in to. Unless an offer comes my way that exceeds my current limitations, that’s the next step for now.