Friars Football: James Brady

November 14, 2007 by  

Friars Football Features 2007

Title: BRADY’S BUNCH: Senior quarterback is the cool leader of the Friars’ pack
Publication: Frairs
Author: Jason Molinet
Date: 11-14-07
Word Count: 780

James Brady clearly appreciates his place in the hierarchy of the high school food chain. The St. Anthony’s senior sports sunglasses in the school hallway as if trying to evade paparazzi. He donned a Superman sweatshirt on Halloween.

Swagger and cool simply radiate from the 6-1, 215-pound Brady. He’s nailed the quarterback persona. Think Joe Namath back in the day and you begin to understand how completely at home Brady is in his own skin.

That’s not easy when you play the most high-profile position for the state’s foremost football factory. Style points don’t win games.

Quick feet and even faster thinking are required to run the St. Anthony’s spread option attack. Brady also has a cannon arm. He throws a picture-perfect deep ball.

These are all tools that help Brady get the job done. But what ultimately defines him on the field is the fierce determination he brings. He attacks defenses with little regard for his own body.

“I want the ball when it comes down to it,” said Brady, who was a promising baseball player on the Deer Park junior varsity as an eighth grader.

Brady is all but impossible for any one defender to corral. The St. Anthony’s senior is elusive enough to shake a linebacker and strong enough to bulldoze an opposing tackle. Little wonder Brady has played through an assortment of injuries in his two seasons as a starter.

“He’s a strong kid and he’s a player,” St. Anthony’s offensive coordinator Fred Gallagher said. “He understands the game and is a great leader.”

Little wonder the Friars are 9-1 and playing in the CHSFL Class AAA title game once again. Brady wouldn’t have it any other way. On a team 87 members deep, featuring several playmakers and college-bound talents, there is one indispensable standout.

He is a leader and an inspiration. During a season defined by injuries and illness to several key offensive stars — the Friars are currently without their top running back, wide receiver and guard — Brady has held the unit together. In Brady we trust is all the currency the Friars need.

“Being able to lead the team — it’s not something everyone can do,” Brady said. “I’ve been a quarterback since I was 11. I love every part of it.”

And yet Brady’s career exists in a bubble.

He is the guy who took over for Chris Eanuzel, who became the first CHSFL player to win the Hansen Award as Suffolk’s best player since 1986 and is regarded as the best quarterback in St. Anthony’s history.

All Brady did as a junior was go 10-0, completing 60 percent of his passes for 1,600 yards and 10 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and four more scores. He led the Friars to a 21-20 win over Mount St. Michael in the CHSFL title game, completing 14 of 21 passes for 276 yards and engineering a 99-yard scoring drive to seal the win.

He’s completed 56 percent of his passes for nearly 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns while rushing for 500 yards and six scores this season. Even if Brady brings home a second championship with a win over Mount St. Michael — finishing his career 20-1 — there’s nothing he can do to supplant Eanuzel in program lore. That’s OK because Eanuzel taught him so much about the position.

It’s not just his place in school history that remains open for debate. But in possibly the deepest class of signal callers Long Island has ever seen, Brady is just one in a group of talents that includes: Central Florida-bound Rob Calabrese (East Islip) and Hofstra commitments Joe Sidaras (Floyd) and Stephen Probst (Farmingdale).

Good thing Brady isn’t concerned about legacies. “There’s always someone better than you out there,” Brady admitted.

For all his celebrity, Brady has an entourage of one. Center Austen Fletcher is Brady’s bodyguard on the field and shadow off it. Senior safety J.B. Andreassi, as intense as Brady is cool, occasionally makes it a trio.

They are hardly the Rat Pack. Their idea of fun is ordering the never-ending pasta bowl at the Massapequa Olive Garden.

Brady has also put recruiting on hold until after the season. That’s not a decision many coveted players would make. Brady has received heavy interest from Army, Georgetown, Lafayette and Princeton, and Big-12 force Missouri has been in the mix.

“It’s a big decision,” Brady said, weighing the possibility of going to a Division I program versus the lure of the Ivy League. “I’ve spent my entire career striving to play at the highest level possible. But an Ivy League degree would set me up for life.”

Whatever his ultimate destination, Brady will make his presence felt.


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