Senior Ryan Duffy wins national award for athleticism and character

OLYMPUS+DIGITAL+CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By Olivia Thompson, Photography Editor

Senior Ryan Duffy beamed as he rose to accept his Scholar-Athlete award from Villanova University football coach Mark Ferrante. His journey to receive the award, which is formally called the Philadelphia Chapter Scholar-Athlete Award, began when he was in third grade.

“I had only ever dreamed, when I was little, (of) playing football, playing for the varsity program, and then even being able to start and being able to get varsity time my sophomore year was amazing,” Duffy said. “Going into my junior year and getting that starting spot automatically and then senior year getting (the spot) felt not like I deserved it, but I earned it.”

This past season, Duffy became one of four captains on the varsity football team. He credits his successes on the football team to the work he has put in.

“I think years of hard work and dedication to the Conestoga football program helped me earn this award. And just respect to my coaches and doing my best to lead the team and try to bring success to the team while contributing everything I can,” Duffy said.

Coach Matt Diamond nominated Duffy, who received the award from the National Football Foundation. Around 40 people nationally are honored with the award every year, chosen for outstanding performance in football, academic achievement, school leadership and citizenship.

Duffy learned that he had won the award through a letter in the mail.

“My first reaction was, ‘this is really cool.’ I was honestly amazed. It looked serious because of the Villanova letter, but I didn’t know exactly what it was because I had never heard of it before. Once I called Coach and he explained to me what an honor it was, how many people get awarded with it and where the banquet was being held, I was very humbled,” Duffy said.

Looking forward, Duffy is excited to see how the football program at Conestoga will prosper.

“This next year, there are a lot of really hard-working athletes that train in the off-season that play multiple sports and that are breaking ground as young athletes in the weight room. I feel like with these kids coming up, the community is going to have something to be proud of. I really believe that these young athletes can bring more success to the football team,” Duffy said.

Reflecting upon his high school career and his overall involvement in the football team, Duffy is grateful for all that he has learned on and off the field. He will continue his career at University of Florida next school year.

Football “has taught me how to fight past adversity and work hard and earn a spot after years,” Duffy said. “Through off-season training, I felt that I had worked tirelessly for the opportunity to play varsity. If you are given talent to be able to play a sport like that, it does show you how dedication can really pay off in the end.”