When Guerin senior Connor Campbell joined the football team as a freshman, it was the first time he had ever put on shoulder pads.
Campbell, a natural athlete whose first sport is baseball, didn’t have any trouble finding a role.
“I just started playing football as a freshman. And even though I’d never played competitively before, football came really easy to me. I’ve always been active and always trying to get better,” he said.
Gators coach Tony Pecoraro seconded that.
“It took him a while to fall in love with the game because he hadn’t played it before,” Pecoraro said. “But he’s taken on the role very seriously and has been putting in a lot of time in the gym and getting stronger for us.”
Campbell, who had played tight end and defensive end, was asked to step up this year and play the interior offensive line for the Gators, who have had to deal with injuries to their small lineup. Campbell, a team captain, took on the challenge with enthusiasm.
“It wasn’t that big of an adjustment, really,” Campbell said. “The only difference being an offensive lineman is you can’t go out for the pass like you can for a tight end.”
In Saturday’s 45-14 loss to Aurora Central, Campbell and the rest of the offensive line had to grind it out for much of the game with only 23 active players on the roster. Meanwhile, the Chargers were able to substitute and keep their players fresh.
The Gators’ offensive line did its part, allowing only one sack.
Campbell, who is nursing a hand injury, doesn’t mind the added workload.
“I really do like it,” he said. “I feel like I have to go out there and make a play every single time and I want to contribute whenever I can.”
Pecoraro knows he doesn’t have to worry about Campbell out on the field.
“His motor never stops. Even with the hand injury, he goes out there and plays as much as he can. He might come out one play, but then he’s right back out there on offense, on defense and special teams.”
For his part, senior receiver Joe Binkowski has noted a big improvement in the offensive line’s play.
“I can definitely tell that the O-line has stepped up this year,” he said. “The offense has more time to make plays and he (quarterback Tyler Flynn) is able to get the ball to the receivers more.”