Thomas Jefferson football players reflect on legacy

Friday, August 30, 2019 | 8:13 PM

The majority of athletes on the Thomas Jefferson football team — if not all of them — grew up dreaming of donning a Jaguars uniform.

I asked some of the older guys on the team about what it means to be a TJ football player. Here are a few responses:

“Being a TJ Jaguar means everything to me,” said Shane Stump, a senior quarterback/defensive back. “Starting in our youth program at 5 years old and being a part of this tradition for virtually my entire life makes this experience so surreal.

“Ever since we were kids, we were always told (on) Thursday nights that wearing our youth-league game jerseys meant more than we knew. That jersey represented ourselves, our family and most importantly our community. Seeing those kids running around the stands Friday nights (at TJ Stadium), doing exactly what we did only a few years ago, is a crazy feeling. Being in a community that supports our football program as much as they do makes it that much better.”

Stump is a third-year starter at quarterback and has been a member of the varsity team for four seasons.

“I think anyone who plays football would support me when I say there is nothing like playing with the guys you’ve been playing with for 12 years,” he said. “These guys have become family to me, and I cannot explain how thankful I am for that.”

Mac Duda, a senior lineman and Princeton recruit, offered the following.

“To me, it means buying into the tradition, culture and expectations of the program,” Duda said. “It means playing for the guy beside you and being mentally tough enough to overcome and conquer any and all adversity.

“It means that you will do whatever it takes to win.”

James Martinis, a senior tight end/linebacker, added, “It means playing for something larger than yourself, keeping the winning tradition alive and becoming part of a brotherhood.”


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