The 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior linebacker and offensive tackle had a great game against Episcopal Academy, leading the team in tackles with 14 and providing, according to Haverford School head coach Michael Murphy “incredible blocking on the offensive line” as the Fords (10-0) wrapped up their third straight Inter-Ac title. The second-year captain and third-year starter was selected to the All-InterAc first team for the second straight year. Off the field, he carries a 3.89 grade-point average, is a member of Haverford School’s Student Leadership Team (Signet Society) and is a Peer Counselor at the school.
Q: You had quite a game on both sides of the ball against EA, with 14 tackles and great blocking on the offensive line. What is your most vivid memory of the game – can you share it with us?
A: My most vivid memory of the game occurred late in the fourth quarter when Episcopal Academy was attempting to sustain a drive into the red zone and our defense responded with back-to-back sacks on third and fourth down. One could argue that this was the closest Episcopal came to scoring the entire game, but our defense held our ground and stood tall. The defensive stand embodies the ability of our team to answer the challenges that our opponents present. This stand ultimately resulted in a shut out, which was our defensive goal going into the game.
Q: What does playing in the Haverford-EA game mean to you, with all of its history and rivalry?
A: Haverford-EA Game is undoubtedly rich in history and many of Philadelphia’s best high school football players in the last couple decades have played in this much anticipated matchup. This being said, having the opportunity to play in such a valued rivalry is a blessing. Haverford-EA Game is always one of the major focal points of the school year so the amount of family, friends, classmates, and alumni cheering us on heightens the intensity of the game.
Q: It’s been said that defensive players (such as linebackers) are free-wheeling type of players who are looking to cause havoc, while offensive linemen have more of a button-down mentality, playing more within an organized system. Do you think this is true, and if so, do you think this dichotomy affects your leadership style on either side of the ball?
A: Absolutely, I agree that the distinct differences impact my leadership and style of play. Being an offensive lineman has enhanced my ability to mentally break down the opponent’s defensive schemes. Subsequently, I learned to became a student of the game. Being a linebacker has elevated my aggressive demeanor as a football player. Therefore landing on either side of the football spectrum, I can relate to almost everything in between. I believe that a captain’s greatest quality to obtain is empathy and ability to relate to his teammates. Playing linebacker and offensive line has unveiled knowledge to become a better leader and person as a whole.
Q: You wear No. 62 for Haverford School. Why did you choose that number – does it have any special significance to you?
A: Going into this football season Coach Murphy asked me to play offensive tackle for the first time in my high school career. Although lacking experience and size, I eagerly accepted. In order to have an eligible number I needed to switch from No. 32 to No. 62. It was very difficult to switch my old number, but my little brother, Christopher, brought ease to the transition by changing his number from 33 to 63 as well.
Q: Who is your favorite football player, and why? Is there a player whose game you try to pattern your own after?
A: Dick Butkus is my all time favorite football player. Although Butkus was an eight-time Pro Bowler in nine seasons, it is not the accolades that attract me to the Chicago Bear linebacker. However, Dick Butkus’s ability to float sideline-to-sideline and explode thought tackles is what I admire and attempt to emulate. Butkus was feared by opponents, but respected by teammates.
Q: Who have been your top football mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?
A: Coach Michael Murphy has taught me to strive for perfection in everything that I do and the “little things” win and lose football games. Coach Brian Martin (Defensive Coordinator) has taught me that a positive attitude and high energy can often make grueling task less daunting. Coach Matthew Rosko (Strength and Conditioning) has taught me to appreciate the significance of self sacrifice for the advancement of the team. Also, working hard does not ensure success, but makes it that much easier to achieve.
Q: What is your favorite subject in school? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?
A: Physiology and Engineering are my favorite subjects at Haverford School. Moving forward into college, I plan on studying Biological Engineering and potentially entering the Prosthetic Field.
Q: You’re a member of the Student Leadership Team (Signet Society) – what (to you) has been the most important thing you’ve learned about leadership in your time with this group?
A: Leadership is often difficult to identify because it comes in many different forms. Silent and vocal leaders utilize much different methods to manage a situation, but both secure the trust and respect of their peers and coaches. Surrounding myself with other leaders have sharpened my skills and presented new techniques to utilize.
Q: What has been your most meaningful experience as a Peer Counselor at Haverford School?
A: Peer Counseling presents multiple opportunities to help oneself and others in a positive manner to identify one exact moment would be flawed. However, one of the most rewarding recurring experience I have attained through Peer Counseling is helping someone see their potential and significance in a community by sharing a simple smile.
Mickey Kober’s top picks
Book: Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller.
Author: William Golding.
TV show: The Voice.
Pre-game pump-up song: Shipping Up to Boston, by Dropkick Murphys.
Athlete: Kyle Snyder.
Person I admire most: “My older brother, Timmy Kober, a freshman at East Stroudsburg University, where he is a Special Education major. Timmy’s light-hearted humor and witty comments never fail to brighten my day. Tim’s unremitting support motivates me to be a better student, athlete, and person. Tim’s empathy for all is contagious and resonates through all three of his younger brothers – myself, Christopher (17), and Frankie (9).”
Team: Philadelphia Eagles.
Place to visit: “My Grandmom’s mountain house.”
(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)