Who would of guessed that a super hero lives in the far east valley?
For the Apache Junction High School football team, that hero also happens to suit up at quarterback.
The Prospectors are turning over a new leaf under first year head coach Vance Miller bringing a new mindset and culture to the program. To change this mindset, the buy-in has had to come from the players first and foremost. One of those players leading the charge for the new era happens to be senior quarterback Adam Abbatacola. Or as the players and coaches know him as, “Captain America.”
“He’s a super hero,” stated Coach Miller. “The guy makes decisions, he’s got a 4.2 GPA, he’s never off, he’s the leader of our team. You can look for him as having that extra coach on the field.”
“The first day of spring ball, Coach Brown our offensive coordinator comes up with these crazy nicknames and then all the sudden I hear him say ‘Captain America,'” Abbatacola explained. “It’s stuck ever since and I kind of like it.”
While it may just be a nickname, it’s something that reflects Abbatacola as a person as well as a player. Being one of the biggest leaders of this team most importantly.
“Leadership is definitely important to me,” Abbatacola mentioned. “Holding your head high and showing your teammates what it takes to be a man and stand up for what you believe in.”
Sounds like a quote you may hear from Captain America himself.
The Prospectors have taken strides in the right direction already under the guidance of Miller and his staff and leadership from Abbatacola. His presence on and off the field has become the benchmark of what Miller hopes to build on as a staple of what they hope to achieve and how they hope to represent going forward.
“One of the things is him being so intellectual,” Miller explains. “He really demands that from our guys. He doesn’t take anybody sluffing off for an answer. He wants everybody to play smart football and is constantly in everybody’s ears and correcting everyone because he wants them to study.”
We are just a month into the 2014 season and it has already been somewhat of a breakout season for the senior. He spent his junior year splitting reps with Brett Darling who was the senior last season. This year it has been just Abbatacola’s job and he has taken the responsibility and run with it.
“It starts with the o-line and my receivers,” Abbatacola said. “It’s not me and it’s all them. I am just so happy to be here and the coaches are great. It’s just been really fun.”
Here meaning high school is the present but the future could consist of football being a big part of Abbatacola’s life. He has been gaining some attention from the film he has been able to put out being the starter thus far. Mix that with his spectacular grades and you have the make-up of a next level quarterback.
“Attention coming from Ivy League schools mostly,” he mentioned. “Hopefully we can also get some game film out to other schools. But right now I am just trying to work as hard as I can and have fun with it. And then we will see what happens.”