Consider the convergence of an elite physical
specimen, an impeccable pedigree and an unyielding desire to achieve anything
Consider Kyle Long.
At 6-foot-7½, 285 pounds, the St.
Anne's-Belfield junior strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents. And
why wouldn't he? When asked what he likes most about football, Long
responded: "Football is a sport in which you are able to impose your will on
the guy across from you."
It is no wonder opposing teams run away from
the mammoth lineman.
Long, 17, came to STAB from Western Albemarle
before the beginning of his sophomore season, where he had been as successful
on the baseball diamond as on the football field.
"If I could use one word to describe STAB,
it would be opportunity," Long said. "It has given me the chance to
improve academically and mature athletically and mentally."
While Kyle has taken advantage of the
tutelage of a tremendous coach in John Blake - and a Hall of Fame father in
Howie Long - he also benefits from the guidance of his older brother, Chris, a
defensive end at the University of Virginia.
"Chris drives me," Kyle said. "There
are always comparisons being drawn between us but there is no comparison. He
is always going to be the better football player and the tougher kid."
Speak for yourself.
"Kyle has much more potential than I ever
had," said Chris, a co-captain at UVa. "I've been
around a lot of football players and he has
the talent to be special. The sky is the limit."
The younger Long has garnered attention from
every top school in the country and has received scholarship offers from many,
including Ohio State, Louisville, and Boston College.
While Kyle is grateful for the interest, at
the moment, he is more concerned with avenging a loss in last year's state
"I want to do everything I can to help my
team win a championship," Long said. "We've said from the beginning of
the year that if we're not first, we're last. We felt like we let
ourselves down, we let our families and all the fans down last year. We never
want to feel like that again."
This season, STAB (7-0), which will face
fellow unbeaten Christchurch on Friday night, is ranked second in both the VIS
Division II and Central Virginia rankings. Behind Long, tailback Colin
Pehanick has broken the school's career rushing record. Defensively, the
Saints are allowing fewer than 12 points per game. Coach Blake's fourth
title in 10 years seems to be a distinct possibility.
"We're just trying to go out there and
earn respect every week," said Long, who will match up against All-American
and University of Virginia-commit J'Courtney Williams on Friday. "We feel
like we have something to prove and we want to show people that we can play
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