The Norwalk football team is coming off a roller-coaster season. It started and ended with two-game winning streaks, but there was a stretch in between with five losses in six games. The end result was a 5-5 record.
The Bears have a number of returning players, including two-way lineman Sam Papp, a second team All-FCIAC pick, who feels the team is poised to make a jump in the standings.
TRR: You have a lot of starters back. How good do you think the team can be this year?
SP: We have the whole offensive line coming back, which is huge for us because we learned how to work well during the whole offseason. We have our main guy, (quarterback) Kyle (Gordon), back there. I feel like we have a good shot to win a lot of games.
TRR: Linemen are not active in 7 on 7 during the offseason. What do you do to stay sharp?
SP: We get in the gym as much as possible. We lift. Once a week during the whole winter we get about 10 to 13 guys come out and just run some plays, some drills just to keep in shape through the whole winter. We also took part in the Linemen Challenge in Berlin a few weeks ago and that was fun. That helped because we had our whole line together working as one.
TRR: I saw you and a few other players just got tattoos. Was there any symbolism to that?
SP: It was just me and my two best friends. We saw one person do it and then we all wanted one. It was the two tackles and center on the O-Line. Each one for each of us had an important meeting. Mine was strength in family, strength in mind, strength in work. All those phrases.
TRR: Where do things stand with you in the recruiting process?
SP: I have two offers now, one from Bryant and one from St. Anselm’s. The schools where I went to camp told me that they want to see what I can do for the first three games. I believe that my skill from last season and my skill from this season will be two completely different players, because I feel I just got that much stronger and better throughout the summer. Going to camps and putting in all the work.
TRR: This is the so-called dead period before training camp. What things are you doing that you normally don’t get to?
SP: Right now I just get to work and make money and work on the house with my parents. Now until Aug. 19 when we start I get to have some fun, play some basketball with friends. That’s about it.