It’s typical for any football player to feel some butterflies in his stomach on the night he makes his first varsity home start, as Phillipsburg senior offensive tackle Jake Creveling did Friday against Immaculata.
What’s not typical is that they admit it. What doesn’t kill you, etc, etc.
Creveling is typical, and then not so typical.
“Of course I was nervous,” Creveling said. “(Head) coach (Frank) Duffy came up to me the Friday of the game and said I’d be playing. It was such an opportunity. It was amazing to play in front of all of our fans at home.”
The 6-foot, 260-pound senior acquitted himself quite well despite 28-10 score in favor of the Spartans, and would seem likely to do so again when the Stateliners (5-3) host Sayreville (7-2) in a North 2 Group 4 quarterfinal Friday at Maloney Stadium (7 p.m.).
Duffy certainly has confidence in Creveling to continue his strong play.
“What Jake is doing is a carryover from what he did in the offseason,” Duffy said. “We had a lot of confidence in Jake, because what we saw from Jake in practice gave us confidence.”
Creveling said he got a boost from the man next to him, junior Zach Leong.
“It’s all about trusting the guy besides you,” he said. “Zach is tough.”
Creveling, who has been almost exclusively an offensive player since he took up the sport playing flag football for Steele Hill, said his practice philosophy is pretty simple.
“We do everything at 110 percent all of the time, and we execute,” he said. “We do game simulations all of the time. You can call it fun, if you want. I enjoy it.”
What Duffy enjoys is the way Creveling plays.
“I thought Jake played well against Immaculata,” Duffy said. “He’s really worked on his speed and agility. He fired off the ball well and he was really aggressive. Our offensive linemen have to be aggressive.”
Creveling said he worked hard in getting faster in the offseason, especially in getting off the ball, having better footwork (which can help in getting set faster and moving faster) and the basics of line play. Did he get faster?
“I hope I did,” he said with a smile.
Asked to evaluate his performance Friday, Creveling took a glass half-full approach.
“I think I did some good things,” he said. “But everything can be improved upon.”
Creveling will get a chance to do so again in front of the P’burg fans Friday – maybe one fan in particular.
“We have all the fans watching and you just have to your job,” Creveling said. “My whole family was there watching Friday. My grandfather, Allen Amey, he really gets into the game. He came through Phillipsburg but didn’t play football because he was too small. But now he coaches me when he cheers from the stands. It’s fun to hear him.”
Maybe that’s one reason Jake Creveling’s nerves didn’t bother him Friday night.
Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bradwsports. Find Lehigh Valley high school sports on Facebook.