Kerrigan leads Mustangs against Falcons
As a co-captain for the Fairfield Warde football team, senior Brian Kerrigan does not inspire the Mustangs with countless touchdown receptions and a steady stream of 100-yard receiving games as their tight end. And as a defensive end, he is not the consistent author of bone-jarring tackles, batted down passes and sacks that throw opposing offenses completely out of whack.
His name will be on no post-season All-America list. Coaches from Alabama and Florida State are not requesting videos of him every week. Just because coach Duncan DellaVolpe does not put Kerrigan on his short list of best Mustangs ever, do not rate his contribution to the team as anything less than ultra outstanding.
"He's very good ... ," DellaVolpe said of his second team All-FCIAC East player from 2012. That's very good as in a Volvo is a very good car, 16 Handles is very good frozen yogurt in town and fireworks at the beach is a very good Fairfield experience. Not every high school athlete is a super sensation and destined for pro sports one day.
Lest Mustangs fans believe Kerrigan is permanently cast as a mere few steps above mediocrity, there are areas where DellaVolpe finds him as extraordinary and in that class of elite among the elite. And that's as a leader. Kerrigan is a game-changer in that regard.
Even without grabbing one rebound or hitting one bucket in basketball as a returning starting center, or without scooping one ground ball or stripping one attacker from the ball as a lacrosse defender, Kerrigan's leadership traits have guided him to have already been named captain for those Mustangs' winter and spring teams. Kerrigan is a three-sport factor on the stat sheet -- he has two touchdown receptions among his nearly two-dozen catches -- and in helping more of his teammates get on the stat sheet.
Few athletes can leave more of an impact.
In the classroom, "I think his GPA hovers at 4.0," DellaVolpe said. It's 3.92, according to Kerrigan, who is considering, among other colleges, to enroll at the University of Virginia, Bucknell, Notre Dame or Holy Cross in 2014-15, aiming to walk on in lacrosse. Kerrigan, who is 6-foot-5 inches and 225 pounds, cannot pick between football and lacrosse as his best sport. He knows it's not hoops.
"I think he has missed only 15 minutes of practice time this year," DellaVolpe said, "and that was for a National Honor Society induction meeting. He's very good as a football player, but in leadership I'd quantify him as excellent." And that's excellent as in Lebron James is an excellent basketball player.
"He absolutely brings the most positive attitude and most dedication every day," DellaVolpe said. "We preach that, but for some kids they just cannot do that every day. But personal issues, family, being tired or injured -- none of that fazes him. He's one of the most energetic kids I've ever coached. There's no down time with Brian. He pushes his teammates more than anyone I've seen.
"He's extremely honest. He's a poster child for any captain of a football team," DellaVolpe said.
Kerrigan exudes a maturity that is rare in teenagers, a humility that is not common for athletes in the spotlight and a sophistication and worldliness that eludes most adults. His world will not end if Warde does not beat Ludlowe on Thanksgiving. "It's been a great three years," he said before practice on Wednesday. "As much as I want to win and expect to win, there have been a lot of good times and a lot of not so good times, but a win in my eyes is the best way to end my football career. We've worked hard this year; I think we've earned a win on Thanksgiving."
His primary role, along with co-captain Colin McKeown, is to lead on the field and off the field, and "to bring energy every day."
On the field, Kerrigan said, he won't let friendships get in the way of the Mustangs' mission to win. "At the end of the day, we can put our differences aside," he said. "In a way, I feel this (in town) rivalry is more competitive (than out-of-town rivalries) and more friendly."
Kerrigan has played with and against Ludlowe star quarterback Matt White in basketball and lacrosse. He respects his rival captain. "He's very quick. It's going to be tough to keep him in the box," said Kerrigan, who acknowledged that keeping White in check can be a safe path to victory for Warde.
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