Saturday, May 08, 2021

Sports Person of the Week

Football Made Bruder Who He is Today

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Senior John Bruder has carved out a nice career as an offensive and defensive lineman with the H-K football squad. Photo courtesy of John Bruder

Senior John Bruder has carved out a nice career as an offensive and defensive lineman with the H-K football squad. (Photo courtesy of John Bruder )

John Bruder has packed quite a punch while suiting up as a two-way lineman for the Haddam-Killingworth football team. John, a senior at H-K, started playing football when he was six, and the sport played a major role in making him the person that he is today.

“Football has been a defining factor to who I am and what I want to be,” says John. “I have played football since I was six years old. It has helped me in every aspect of my life, from the classroom to mentoring and creating lasting friendships. I think of football every day, and I even play out the future season in my head.”

John, who stands 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds, has worked his way through the ranks as a member of the H-K football team. John was starting as a left guard on JV during the early portion of his sophomore year, but by the middle of the season, he had earned a starting spot on the offensive line with the varsity squad. John helped the Cougars post a record of 11-2 and advance to the final of the Class S State Playoffs.

“That season, our team made it to the Class S state championship game for the first time in decades and challenged perennial powerhouse Bloomfield deep into the game,” John says. “My junior year, I played in virtually every play at offensive line and defensive line. That season, I received Honorable Mention in the [Pequot Conference]. I gained the respect of the upperclassmen and the coaches by my dedication to the team.”

As he heads into his senior year, John is facing the possibility of not being able to play as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put the 2020 football season in a state of flux. The CIAC recently determined that a modified version of the sport—such as a 7-on-7 format with no tackling—would have to be played in order for games to take place. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a lineman like John.

“It is disappointing to say the least,” says John. “I know many of the guys have put in a lot of work this offseason, and it’s a shame that the season was canceled, especially for the seniors. I can’t say I agree with the CIAC’s position, but we all understand the situation, and it’s important that we keep people safe.”

First-year Head Coach Erik Becker feels bad for his seniors and hopes that the CIAC will find a way to give them some semblance of a season. Becker spoke highly about what he’s seen from John on the field.

“I believe John is disappointed, like all the kids were,” says Becker. “So far, John has presented himself as a quiet and hard-working kid who is interested in becoming the best he can be.”

John says that he had a strong work ethic instilled in him at a young age by his parents Denise and Eric, whom he calls his role models. John’s father joined the Army National Guard to pay for college in pursuit of an accounting degree, while his mother returned to college for a degree in nursing when John was in preschool. John also has two older siblings, James and Analiese, who have set a high academic standard in his family.

“I hope to reach that bar, as well,” John says. “My sister graduated this May with a degree in molecular and cell biology from UConn, and my brother is a STEM scholar in the [computer science] program at UConn. In the classroom, I have a GPA of 3.7, taking several Advanced Placement and honors courses. I also received the Shoreline Scholar Athlete Award in 2020.”

John is also a member of boys’ track program at H-K, throwing the shot put for the Cougars. Earlier this year, John took first place in the shot put at the Shoreline Conference Indoor Championship to help Cougars win their second-straight league title.

“My goal is to break the school record for shot,” says John. “This summer, I have put a lot of effort into lifting and improving speed and agility with a professional trainer.”


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