Friday Night Football Q&Adrian with Phil Cohen from Valley Regional/Old Lyme High School
Valley Regional/Old Lyme Warriors have been rolling through their schedule being undefeated going into week 9. The Warriors are led by captain and senior quarterback Phil Cohen. The Long Island native shared his thoughts about the season and his transition from moving to Connecticut and playing football.
How do you think your season is going so far approaching the playoffs?
Phil Cohen: I think we are doing pretty well, we have been executing pretty well, a lot of new players have come up and they faced adversity and challenges and have been doing a good job at facing it. The younger kids have stepped up in practice as well and it's a good look on the demo squad. I think as a whole, we are really progressing and doing the best that we can.
As you know your team is undefeated and is focusing on securing the number 1 spot for the Class M tournament, do you think there's pressure on you and your team?
PC: Yes, I think so, we try to take it one week at a time and we really do our best because I think we have a lot of potential.
On defeating Morgan 51-6 a few weeks ago, do you consider that a statement game with both of you arguably being the top two teams in the Pequot South?
PC: I think so, Morgan is a great team and they have a huge line. Their running back Jake Ward is unbelievable, you hear about him week in and week out obviously. I think our defense did a really good job of containing him. Our Defensive Coach, Coach Cantor, put a lot of time to trying to stop him and the rest of the high powered Morgan offense.
Being undefeated so far, how would you measure the team's confidence level?
PC: I think our confidence is alright, we try not to focus on that. We try to just take it one week at a time and try to execute the best we can.
What kind of captain are you for your team?
PC: I wouldn't say I'm a vocal leader, I try to lead by example, but in a lot of the younger kids I could see how they look up to me and it's humbling to know how nice they are. I try to be as nice as possible to them.
How has the attitude from last year changed for your team, from not being into the playoff run to now possibly securing the number 1 spot for Class M?
PC: Well they said last year was a rebuilding season for us, but I don't think it was. I think going 7-3 was pretty good for us last year because we had a lot of young players but now we matured as whole. I think we came into the season knowing 90 percent of the offense already and just throwing new stuff in there, I think we handled it pretty well so now I think we are up to speed and we are trying to get better each week.
Have you started to think about college yet?
PC: Yes, I want to major in physical education so I'm looking into schools with good educational programs, but if not I'm open to anything else. My second option would be sports journalism or sports broadcasting.
So I hear you're a Long Island native, how do you like living in Connecticut?
PC: I actually really like living in Connecticut, the football here is awesome and baseball here is really fun too. I think I adapted pretty well and everybody welcomed me into Old Lyme High School with open arms. It was really nice to know how nice the kids are and how well we get along.
So I take it that you are a Giants fan?
PC: Yes, I'm a huge Giants and Yankees fan.
Who would be your favorite player and why?
PC: My favorite player in New York is probably Iman Shumpert for the Knicks, but for the Giants, I really like Victor Cruz. Despite that I'm a New Yorker my favorite player all-around is Tom Brady, I don't know I just got into the rugged New England atmosphere.
Would you compare your game to Tom Brady?
PC: I wouldn't compare my game to Tom Brady's, but I am inspired to play like him. He's a great pocket passer. I like Colin Kaepernick too, because he's runs the read option and stuff and he does it pretty well, he has a great arm and he is also a baseball player too, and that's another person I like to relate too.
Are you surprised about Nick Fole's performance last week, what do you think about quarterbacks in the NFL that are given a chance like Foles despite Michael Vick's injury?
PC: Last year, I came into the season playing receiver and I always wanted to play quarterback. My first year playing quarterback was when I came into high school in 9th grade. The quarterback coaches did the best they could for me to progress throughout my high school career. I worked really hard in the off-season coming into last year and the first game I played receiver and my coaches said they had faith in me and it was really humbling. So they gave me the starting job in the second game of the season last year and I'm really and thankful that they gave I a chance to play, but yea Nick Foles was crazy, seven touchdowns tying the record as a backup quarterback was unbelievable.
Do you have any superstitions before a game?
PC: Yes, I like wearing my black eye line and stuff and I have an undershirt I have been wearing since sophomore year, so it's like my game shirt.
What are some of the things you do off the field, do you play any other sports?
PC: Yes I play baseball as well, I play catcher and first base. I been playing baseball ever since kindergarten, but I'm also a big gamer. I love Xbox and playing games like Madden and NBA 2k14 a lot, so I'm big on sports games.
If you had a chance to have dinner with any 3 people in the world, who would it be and why?
PC: I would have to say Iman Shumpert is one of them, Tom Brady, and Colin Kaepernick. Those are my three favorite all-time sport players right now.