By Matt Nestor
The hearts and souls of what has been a fourth-straight NIC-10 championship for the Boylan Titans have announced their intentions to play college football.
Wednesday, March 17, in the Boylan cafeteria, Zach Smith, Steve Thomas, Dominic DeMarco, Shane Laga and Paul Barmore all announced where they will continue their education and football career.
“For us, it feels like it’s a continuation of our program,” Head Coach Dan Appino said. “Our kids will come back and work for us in the summer in our camps. They’ll bring good things back, but they also take a lot of the good things we do with them. So, we think it’s one of the things that helps us continue our hard work here.”
Smith will be heading to Illinois State University. Thomas and DeMarco will go to St. Ambrose University. Laga is going to University of St. Francis, and Barmore is heading to William Penn University.
Smith, an all-conference linebacker, had offers from several schools, but will be heading to ISU to play. The Redbirds, an FCS-level Division I school, was where Smith said he was most comfortable.
“There were a few schools I had contact with,” he said. “But I felt really strongly about the coaching staff at Illinois State.”
For Thomas, he said the experiences of playing at Boylan will stick with him and his teammates forever. He said he hopes to be able to have the same closeness at St. Ambrose that he had with the Titans.
“We always say you come to Boylan as a boy and leave as a man,” Thomas said. “We know in football season, you are there with your brothers. We’re no longer a team, but a family. I hope that wherever we all go, we can build that with our teammates. I think the work ethic we build here is great.”
For Appino, he is grateful for everything all of his seniors contributed to the school and team, even though he will have trouble replacing them next year.
“We won four conference championships in a row, and we’ve been undefeated in the conference since the middle of 2005,” he said. “In all that time, there has been a lot of pressure on these kids to continue the streak. And the five guys sitting up here are a big reason to say we’ve been able to do that.”
From the March 24-30, 2010 issue