Malvern Prep’s Pat Finley is Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week

The senior middle linebacker had 12 tackles and a key goal line interception as the Friars stunned two-time defending Class AAAA state champion St. Joseph’s Prep, 33-21, Oct. 3. As of Oct. 12, he is Malvern Prep’s leading tackler, with 52 tackles in four games. Malvern Prep football head coach Aaron Brady said, “He is an inspirational leader – a leader by action.”

Q: What was it like playing for Malvern Prep at Soldier Field Aug. 28? What is your most vivid memory of your experience at Soldier Field?

A: It was pretty surreal. It didn’t matter during the game, but after the game ended, you realized how lucky you were to have played there. The most memorable experience was pulling up to the stadium thinking to myself, “Wow. We’re about to play in there. Let’s go.”

Q: Against St. Joe Prep, you had a big interception at the goal line in the fourth quarter. Could you tell us how the play developed, and your role in it?

A: They had the momentum in the game and were about go [ahead] if they scored on that possession. Once they got in the red zone, I knew we needed a stop, or else their momentum would have carried over for the rest of the game. I had the slot man to man, and I undercut his out route. Next thing I know, I’m running the ball down the field. Towards the end of the return, I felt like I was jogging because I was so tired. I didn’t want to get the ball stripped and saw the kid behind me flying upfield about to catch me, so I decided to slide.

Q: Against St. Joe’s Prep, you had 12 tackles. What do you think was the key to your defensive performance that day?

A: Trusting the system we had in place to stop their offense. Also, watching film helped me to realize what plays they were going to run before the ball was snapped.



Q: You wear No. 11 for Malvern Prep. Why did you choose that number – does it have any special significance to you?

A: Ryan O’Neil, who played middle linebacker last year for us and now plays for Brown, handed it down to me last year. I want to hand it down to the next starting middle linebacker to start a tradition.

Q: Who is your favorite football player, and why?

A: Rob Gronkowski because he’s a beast.

Q: Who have been your top football mentors, and what has been the most important thing each of them taught you?

A: Coach Carlin coached me all of grade school and helped to develop the strong character into me that makes the football player that I am today. Coach Irvine coached me all of grade school as well and helped me become the player I am today. Coach Justin Golden, my linebacker coach, makes practice everyday fun and intense. His coaching and advice has helped me to succeed especially at linebacker. Coach [Aaron] Brady taught me to always rip and to never take on blockers as a linebacker and just brings a certain energy and passion that gets me going.

Q: You came to Malvern Prep your freshman year. What (to you) is the best part of attending Malvern Prep?

A: The best part about Malvern is the community. It’s not easy to describe, but everyone cares about each other.

Q: What colleges are among your current favorites? What would you like to major in at college?

A: My top three choices right now are Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and Duke. I’m not positive what I want to major in. My top four choices are engineering, business, statistics and computer science.


Pat Finley’s top picks

Book: The Atlantis Gene.

Author: Malcolm Gladwell.

TV show: Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri.

Movie: The Patriot.

Pre-game pump-up song: Levels, by Avicii.

Athlete: Lebron James.

Historical figure: “Leonardo da Vinci. It’s unbelievable how many occupations he had… He had over 12.”

Team: Villanova basketball.

Place to visit: “Don’t have one. I’d like to go to New Zealand one day though.”

(To be selected as Main Line Boys Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by his coach.)

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