Four senior captains on the Davenport Division champion Sharon High football team saw their personal trophy cases become more crowded last week.
Bradley Schiff, Adam Block, Sean Asnes, and Adam Banks were highlighted by Hockomock League coaches on Nov. 13 for their individual performances this season.
Head Coach Dave Morse says that he was pleased with the 8-2 Eagles’ significant presence on the All-Hock team, which he says is the latest indication of the team’s improvement over last season.
“Very happy. I think they earned it,” Morse said of the honorees. “That [the multiple selections] reflects our win-loss percentage.”
Schiff said, “I think it’s a great thing that we’re getting recognition, especially where I think we definitely deserve it.”
Schiff was named the Hockomock League Most Valuable Defensive Player. He, along with Block and Asnes, was selected to the All-Hockomock team, while Banks was tabbed as an honorable mention.
Asnes said, “It’s great that we got a lot of representation on the All-Hock [team], because we deserve it.”
With all four of Sharon’s selections being team captains, Asnes says that there is a correlation between being a captain through displaying a strong work ethic, and having on-field success.
“That’s part of why we’re captains - we work the hardest. We want to be out there the most. And we take advantage of all the plays. I think we deserve it,” Asnes said.
“A lot of times, captains get selected because of their ability on the field,” Block said. “Captains usually have a good work ethic, which goes along with their position [of being named captain].
“With the support of our teammates and them following us, I think that’s definitely helped our games improve. And us having to step up to be able to lead our team has definitely improved our games,” Block said.
Banks said, “I worked extremely hard in the offseason. All the captains and a lot of the players did, too, and it shows. It pays off.”
Schiff says that the captains (himself, Block, Asnes, Banks, and senior linemen Calvin Joseph and Jalen Epps) have run with the opportunities that come with their titles.
“People given the position in to be a leader and prove themselves - they haven’t taken that for granted.
“I think everyone who had that opportunity took it to their fullest ability. Everyone saw results. I think it reflects a lot about them, and a lot about the team,” Schiff added.
Morse says that he would have liked to see more Eagles be awarded. “I thought there were also [other] ones [deserving from Sharon], but there are a lot of good players in the Hock.
“Those kids needed to be recognized, as well. Would’ve liked to have a couple of more, but our guys are moving on [to the playoffs],” Morse added.
Banks says that the individual honors are largely due to the work of other Eagles. “It’s a one-man award, and I believe that the whole team should be rewarded. It’s a group effort,” he said.
Schiff, the Eagles’ middle linebacker and defensive signal-caller, says that he did not expect to be named Hockomock Defensive MVP or to the All-Hockomock team.
“I felt really honored. I was really caught off-guard, but it’s good to know that hard work pays off. It felt good,” Schiff said.
Morse says that Schiff, who was also named All-Hock following last season, is the Eagles’ defensive leader. “Brad’s biggest strength is his intelligence on the football field. He has a high football IQ.
“Mix that in with a great athletic ability and lateral speed, as well as the ability to come downhill and fill a hole, makes him a top-notch football player in the Hockomock,” Morse said.
Schiff said, “I think I do a fairly good job of reading the play, closing up gaps in the middle, making people bounce it outside, and making tackles in the backfield.”
“Bradley Schiff deserves Defensive MVP more than anyone,” said Block. “Kid works harder than anyone I know. He’s earned it.”
Morse calls his middle linebacker a quarterback and a coach. “He is everything you want him to be. He makes sure his guys are lined up correctly. He makes sure they know what to do.
“He makes the calls. He makes adjustments. Truly an outstanding player,” Morse added.
To being labeled a quarterback, Schiff joked, “I do have a great arm.” Regarding pre-snap reads, he said, “I think that starts off with fundamental basics. You’ve got to start off the linemen right.
“You have to do everything that you can prior to the snap of the ball to put yourself in the best position to make a play. So whether that’s calling out tendencies, formations – it’s something that has to be done,” Schiff added.
The linebacker says that his biggest strength is keeping fellow defensive players upbeat while the Eagles trail late in games. Sharon has posted four fourth-quarter comeback victories this season.
“Especially in a game when you’re playing from behind, the defense especially has to stay positive, stay in the game, stay focused,” Schiff said. “If you lose focus, you get to feeling down, there’s no way you can come back.”
“You need to get the ball back to the offense, especially when you’re playing from behind. I think keeping everyone positive on the defensive end when you’re playing from behind is huge,” Schiff added.
Morse says that Schiff has progressed since his first varsity season, his sophomore year. “He’s done a better job of not freelancing. Before, he used to try to make every play. Now, he does his job and does a very good job at that,” Morse said.
The coach says that Schiff, who lists himself at 5’7” and 165 pounds, has proven that size is not the deciding factor in football.
“Doesn’t matter, anything like that – anything on a medical sheet. He’s a football player,” Morse said. “He is smart, he is athletic, and he is tough. And that shows on the field.”
When Block heard that he was one of the offensive linemen on the All-Hockomock team, he says that he had many thoughts.
“I was extremely honored, humbled, and very excited at the same time. A definite array of emotions came over me,” Block said.
Sharon’s right guard says that he was hoping to be honored. “It’s obviously in the back of everyone’s head, and if they tell you it’s not, they’re lying. Our goal is to win the Super Bowl, but obviously, everyone has their side self-goals, which are second.
“Coming into the season, being an O-lineman, which is a pretty thankless job – not by the guys on the team, but from outside people – it’s nice to get credit. It’s nice to be recognized,” Block added.
Morse says that Block’s biggest strength is his experience, having started on varsity for the past three seasons.
“He knows all the plays,” said Morse. “He knows how to do it. He knows how to run. He knows how to block down. He can pick up blitzes.
“Another kid who prepares well and never takes a play off. He is the leader on the line. He’s been huge. We like to run behind him. He makes the people around him better,” the coach added.
Block says that his intensity is an asset. “I play angry. I pull hard; I pull with a purpose. What helped me – [former Sharon Head Coach Brian] Chamberlain was a great O-line coach.
“He always told me, ‘You want to hit your top speed when you’re about to hit the guy,’ and I have used that throughout high school,” Block said.
Schiff says that Block is the lynchpin of the Eagles’ offensive line. “I think our line has come up huge this year, and Adam Block has definitely been the head of that.
“I think he’s really brought a strong force to the offensive line, and it meant a lot to see him get that title,” Schiff added.
Asnes says that he enjoys running behind Block on rushing plays. “After following Adam through the hole many times, I realized he’s one of my favorite people to follow.
“He’s always out there just a little before me, leading me through tough things, and then I get outside and score,” Asnes added.
Block says that his significant amount of time spent on the field earlier in his career facing varsity opponents helped him grow.
“Starting sophomore year on varsity and starting every single game I’ve ever been eligible to play in – that’s 31 consecutive games; I’m like the Brett Favre of high school.
“But I think I’ve definitely matured as a player and a leader for our team. Obviously, sometimes you’ll do things and later, you’ll look back and wish you’d done it differently, and going forward, you fix your mistakes – whether it’s how to lead, how to react to a play,” Block added.
“He’s gotten much better at becoming the full package,” Morse said. “As a sophomore, he was a little bit more reserved; took things in. I think he learned a lot then, and by the time he was a junior, he was a leader on the line. As a senior, he has been a dominant force.”
Asnes was appreciative to be named to the All-Hockomock team. “I was obviously very happy that all of my hard work paid off. I’ve got to thank all my coaches, my teammates. I’m very proud.”
Morse says that Asnes’ top quality is his athleticism. “Sean’s biggest strength is his God-given ability to cut, turn on a dime. He also has great acceleration and blasts through a hole when he needs to hit one,” Morse said.
Asnes says that he has seen a personal growth over his high school career. “I’ve definitely gotten a lot better from my freshman year. Had a down year my sophomore year.
“Picked it up my junior year, got All-Hock that year. Then, I wanted to come back even stronger. I think I’ve improved,” Asnes added.
Morse says that Asnes is a polished running back. “He knows what to do. He hides behind our offensive linemen and lets them do the tough work. He just seems to find a crease and hit it.”
One of Asnes’ top plays this season was juking a defender and diving into the endzone with fewer than 10 seconds remaining on Oct. 20 to beat Davenport rival Stoughton.
Morse says that Asnes, who scored a 41-yard touchdown to set the tone against Foxboro, has played his best in must-win Davenport contests. “He’s been huge. It seems like every big game, he has a big game,” he said.
Morse says that Asnes accepts a shorter gain more easily than he did as a younger player.
“Sean has done a better job of using his athletic ability to his strength - doing the play and not trying to be a freelancer. He’ll hit a hole now, instead of bouncing it outside and getting tackled.
“He also catches the ball well out of the backfield, as a dual-threat. He’s grown up a lot in three years,” Morse added.
Asnes says that he still sees areas for growth in the final games of the season. “Hitting the hole better; being more patient with my blockers, following them. Got to hold onto the ball better; hopefully, I can improve on that,” Asnes said.
Banks says that he was enthused to be a Hockomock Honorable Mention. “I was extremely excited and proud to get that award. I really didn’t think about it that much [beforehand]. It makes me feel good, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
The Honorable Selection awards do not designate a specific position for the honorees. Morse says that Banks, who starts at both defensive end and tight end, is a strong all-around player.
“He’s a great football player who is good at a lot of things,” Morse said. “He’s strong. He’s smart. He can also run.
“His biggest thing was, he hit the weight room hard over the past couple of years, put himself into position to go both ways at two really tough positions,” the coach said.
"A lot of kids worked hard in the offseason, and the hard work pays off,” Banks said. “Coach acknowledged that [the summer dedication was necessary], and that’s why I did it.”
At tight end, Banks caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime on Oct. 5 to down Canton. Morse says that Banks is a threat in both the running and passing game.
“He uses his body well [blocking], stays low trying to get leverage and crack down on people. In the pass game, he’s a threat with a tall frame - it’s a good thing to have,” Morse said.
“Tight end, a lot of blocking - do it for my team,” Banks said. “I think my hands have gotten a little better. Different offense this year, a little more passing.
“I wish I got the ball a little more, but it’s fine. I love my opportunities, and I just keep moving forward,” Banks added.
The coach says that Banks is a significant contributor to a veteran offensive line. “It shows you how many leaders we have. We have four captains on the offensive line [Block, Epps, Joseph, and Banks].
“That just shows you what kind of unit we have: the cohesion, how they prepare, how they work. And Banks is just another piece of that,” Morse added.
Morse says that at defensive end, Banks identified well what opposing linemen are attempting to do.
“He reads blocks in front of him well. He’s not afraid; doesn’t shy away. Anything laterally, outside of him, he can run down and make a play,” the coach said.
Banks says that he has improved in all phases of the game since his freshman year.
“I think I’ve grown as a player. I’ve learned a lot about the game. I’ve become more diverse – started playing different positions,” Banks added. “I’ve been learning a lot. Off the field - in the film room, everywhere - I’ve improved.”
Asnes says that he, Schiff, Block, and Banks, as well as the rest of Eagles, must better themselves as Sharon prepares for the regular season finale against Oliver Ames and for the postseason.
“Personally, I want to improve,” Asnes said. “I need to stop fumbling. I need to work on that going into OA and into the playoffs.
“As a team, we’ve got to improve if we want to make the Super Bowl,” Asnes added. “It’s about improving every week going forward and limiting the mistakes you make.”