By Justin Rodriguez
Section 9 Football Insider
John S. Burke Catholic’s David Ross followed a superstar, all-everything running back Garnett Nicolas, this season.
There has been some pressure on Ross and plenty of comparisons to his predecessor. Still, Ross is determined to “make my own path” and has left a trail of defenders in his wake during what is becoming a breakout senior season.
Ross has rushed for 700 yards and six touchdowns this season. However, his output has increased since he began only playing on offense. Ross played linebacker and running back the first two weeks of the season. He has rushed for 405 yards and four touchdowns the last three weeks.
“Garnett and I are friends,” Ross said. “It was a challenge facing such a great running back, but I want to make my own name. I don’t want to follow anyone. It feels good to have this success, but I know I couldn’t have done it without my offensive line. I like the spotlight, but I just want to keep getting better and better.”
Nicolas rushed for 1,560 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. His most dominant performance came in a 35-28 loss to Ogdensburg Free Academy (OFA) in the semifinals of the Class C state semifinals. He dominated OFA, rushing for a season-high 234 yards and four touchdowns.
Nicolas is now attending West Point Prep and hopes to play for Army West Point next season. Ross made a name for himself on defense last season, leading the Eagles with 111 tackles, adding four sacks. The graduation of Nicolas left Burke Catholic with a huge hole to fill, but coach Aaron Hasbrouck had confidence in Ross, and didn’t hesitate when it came to penciling him in at running back.
“David is a kid that just eats, sleeps and breathes football,” Hasbrouck said. “He grew up in a football family and they love football. David is a quiet kid, but I definitely think that he has used Garnett as motivation. He wants to be just as good as him. He wants to set the same standard.”
Ross, who is 6-foot, 210 pounds, has made an impact with his hard-charging running style. He isn’t going to try to make a defender miss: Ross is coming right at you.
“Davis is a bruiser,” Hasbrouck said. “He keeps coming at you. David is the type of player that defenders think in the third quarter: ‘Do I still have to tackle this guy?’ David is really rolling right now.”
And so is Burke Catholic. After starting off the season with a loss to defending Class B champion, the Eagles have won four games in a row, and have asserted themselves as the Section 9 favorites in Class C. The emergence of Ross and Burke Catholic’s offensive line give the Eagles a shot at making another memorable November run.
“I don’t know if a lot of people knew about David before this season,” said Burke Catholic quarterback Heath Hoovler, who threw six touchdowns against Tri-Valley last Saturday. “He might have been underrated, but David has definitely proven himself. We are all happy for David because he has worked so hard to get to this point and we are all rooting for him.”