Sully McConnell loves playing football, and whether he's finishing off a punishing block, sticking his nose into a tackle, or simply discussing the game, his passion for the sport is quite evident.
"It's a lot of fun,'' McConnell said. "I like football. I would much rather play a contact sport than a non-contact sport.''
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Bishop Guilfoyle senior, who answers to the shortened version of his given first name of Sullivan, brings components of toughness and tenacity to his starting roles at fullback and linebacker for the Marauders.
"I like to get into people's faces,'' he said.
And BG coach Marty Georgiana appreciates McConnell's willingness to go full-tilt on the football field.
"He's willing to do whatever he needs to do in order to get the job done,'' Georgiana said. "You need kids like him on a football team. He's definitely a leader. The younger kids on the team see him working so hard, and they feed off that.''
Offensively and defensively, McConnell - who expressed gratitude for the influence and support of his grandfather, John Conlon - exudes a sense of fearlessness and abandon.
"He plays mostly at linebacker on defense, but he'll move down to nose tackle when needed,'' Georgiana said. "Offensively, he has great hands, and every now and then, we'll use him as a flanker and we'll get him the ball. But he knows that his [primary] role is his blocking. He's not afraid - he'll go in and block anybody we ask him to block. Normally, he's blocking bigger people, but he'll always stick with it.
"He epitomizes our team,'' Georgiana added. "We've got a lot of kids who will do anything in order to help the team. They just want to play football, and they play the game really hard.''
McConnell - who is also a member of Guilfoyle's baseball squad - began playing football as a fourth-grader, under Conlon's direction, for the St. Mary's team in the Altoona Parochial League.
He's hoping that this football season will be an especially memorable one for him and the Marauders.
"You're going to have these memories [of playing high school football] for the rest of your life, and those are memories you want to hold on to,'' said McConnell, who is aspiring for a future career as a state policeman. "In the last three years that I've been [on the BG varsity football squad], this is the closest-knit team I've ever been with. We have a lot of talent, and hopefully, we can put it all together this year and have a really great season.''