SPRINGVILLE — Vince Lombardi said, “The dictionary is the only place success comes before work.”
Springville-Griffith Institute sophomore Tommy Schweickert said that he uses hard work to drive him toward the fulfillment of his dreams.
Schweickert, a running back and cornerback on the junior varsity football team, finished the season with 1,604 rushing yards, after running for 317 yards, in the Griffins’ final game of the season, against Williamsville South. While most junior varsity players begin playing high school football during their freshman year, Schweickert began his high school football career this season, after taking a year off last year, following two seasons on Springville’s modified football team.
“Tommy ran track instead and worked out on a regular basis to over-achieve his goals he has personally set,” said Coach Eric Hodges.
Schweickert said, “When you don’t work for something, but yet you still earn, it’s not as satisfying as if you worked hard for it. It feels a million times more earned when you work at it, again and again, just to achieve that one dream, especially when your family, friends and peers help you and encourage you to follow your heart and never have doubt.”
Schweickert had 243 rushing yards in the Griffs’ 24 – 28 victory against the Maryvale Flyers on Oct. 20. The sophomore said that the all-freshman lineup of Josh Ball, Pat Hannon, Mason Merleu, Parker Rice and Grayson Louth “really stepped up.
“Everyone was working hard and preparing for the game persistently,” he added. “The line really stepped up and delivered. They made the blocks they were supposed to make and did them well. Josh Ball: On my first touchdown, he was pulling and pancaked the only kid in front of me and I just hit another gear.”
Schweickert and his teammates finished the football season on Thursday, Oct. 25 in Williamsville South. Schweickert needed 13 rushing yards to reach 1,300 for the season and 88 all-purpose yards, to reach 1,600.
He accomplished that goal and more, with his 317 rushing yards and 419 all-purpose yards. He finished the season with 1,600 yards rushing and 2,019 all-purpose yards.
“Tommy had a rare opportunity for a player at any level, but even more so for a JV player, because we only play, at the most, nine games,” Hodges said. “He has the potential to go very far, within this program. I look forward to watching him play varsity next year.”
Schweickert has had a “knack” for making a lot of big plays, according to his coach. He started the early season comeback against Salamanca by forcing a fumble and returning it 80 yards for a fourth quarter touchdown and then later catching a game-winning touchdown, as time expired on fourth down, to propel the Griffins to a 22 – 20 comeback victory. He is the team’s starting kick and punt returner, punter, cornerback and running back.
“He is always in the thick of things,” Hodges said, “whether he’s forcing a fumble, catching the ball out of the backfield or he’s recovering an outside kick.”
Off the field, Schweickert has a grade point average in the high 90s. He also participates in varsity track and called the 400-meter his “best event.”
“He is not a one-man team. He is the ideal definition of a team player,” Hodges said.
“He practices hard and brings 100 percent every practice and game. He’s a leader as well. When he talks, the team responds very well. He’s a role model.”
Thursday, Oct. 25 was Schweickert’s last game in a junior varsity uniform. He and his teammates were given a last chance to finish 5 – 4, with a winning record against Williamsville South.
“When you have positivity set in your mind and your heart and, with a little help of your family [and] friends, you can achieve great things. You can go far if it’s something you love and work your butt off to get,” Schweickert said, about his attitude. “Once you achieve that goal or dream, you realize how sweet it is.”