Editor's note: MaxPreps Eastern Media Manager Jim Stout was a reporter and photographer for the Danbury (Conn.) News-Times from 1977 to 2006. He has been a journalist in the New York-New England region for 35 years.
His red and white Greenwich High
jersey had been torn and frayed by the beating just absorbed. Mud from Stamford's Boyle Stadium was caked and smeared over much of his body. As he stood on the field and spoke to reporters following that 1979 game, I remember his lip quivering slightly. Maybe there was a little blood, too.
It was a long time ago.
, however, was only beaten for the moment. Though his high school career ended in a crushing 17-0 defeat to Darien
and its fabled Tidal Wave defense, Young was starting to emerge as a special quarterback and future Hall of Famer.
He already possessed the greatness of courage and the conviction while still in high school in Connecticut, standing on the field 32 years ago after the Fairfield County championship game and answering question after question despite the pounding that he and his Cardinal teammates had taken.
Young, as some may recall, was an option quarterback in high school, amassing far more yardage on the ground than through the air. He was strong, smart and highly athletic, but not an exceptionally gifted passer. Many option-oriented college programs came calling, and with good reason. This was one tough kid.
With a name like Young, though, and coming from a family of faith, Steve Young made an incongruous choice from a football standpoint, selecting a school better known for its passing history, Brigham Young University.
You can look up the rest.
As with his high school football career, success wasn't automatic for Young in college or in the pros. It was made.
He struggled initially with BYU's offense - there was even talk at the time of making him a defensive back - but ultimately he broke school and NCAA passing records. He started out professionally in the old USFL and with the then-hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but wound up starring with one of the great teams of its era, the San Francisco 49ers.
He was a left-handed quarterback in a right-handed world, a journeyman backup at the start professionally, but he capped his career with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 2005.
No matter what the obstacles had been, Steve Young always seemed to find a way to overcome them.
Bobby Valentine, Rippowam High (closed in 1983), Stamford, Conn. 1968 (Major Division I football recruit, USC baseball, MLB player, manager and TV anaylist).
Garry Cobb, Stamford High (Conn.), 1975 (USC, 11 NFL seasons with Lions, Eagles and Cowboys).
George Radachowsky, Danbury High (Conn.) 1980 (Boston College, five NFL seasons with Jets and Colts).
Maurice Vaughn, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, N.Y. 1986 (four high school football seasons, Seton Hall University baseball, American League MVP with Red Sox in 1995, son of former Baltimore Colt Leroy Vaughn).
Dwight Freeney, Bloomfield, Conn., 1998 (Syracuse University, Indianapolis Colts, still active).
asked its most experienced writers and freelancers to name the best high
school football player they ever saw. Requirements were at least 20
years on the job and that they had to see the athlete play in person. See a perspective from Alabama in the next edition.