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2013 Round 1 Player of the Week: Sparta Runningback Lucas Faria

Every once in a long while there is a moment on the high school gridiron that goes down in infamy. These are day’s that are remembered in local bar rooms for years afterwards. They are times where people in attendance can say, “I was there the day so-and-so did…” Well, we were blessed to have one of those days in Sparta, NJ this past Saturday. Yup, during their 46-14 trouncing of Englewood in the first round of the North 1, Group 3 sectional state tournament, Sparta’s junior runningback Lucas Faria busted out for an amazing 541 yards and six touchdowns on 44 carries.

This amazing feat earned Faria a seat at the table with the New Jersey high school record book as well as Morris Sussex Football’s Round 1 Player of the Week Award. MSF caught up with Faria to talk about this spectacular performance, the make-up of this team and what the Spartan’s strategy is for the rest of the season.

Morris Sussex Football: Did you stay in a Holiday Inn Express this past Friday night?
Lucas Faria: (Laughs) I actually did not.

MSF: Did you have any idea that you were in the 500 yard range during this game?
LF: I had no idea. The most yards I had run in a game prior to that was around 200 so I was hoping to maybe surpass that but I had no clue I was anywhere near 500.

MSF: After that kind of performance, does your O-line expect you to take them out for a steak dinner?
LF: All of them definitely would deserve one! Kevin, Cole, Christian, and both Jakes should be getting all of the credit for that game. They completely dominated the line of scrimmage play after play.

MSF: What was this Sparta team’s off season goal?
LF: I think one of our primary goals was to move on from the end of last season. We had a great run with that group of guys but I think our focus transitioned to how we were going to move on and improve from last year with this new group.

MSF: Did you envision that you would have lopsided victories in just about every game you played?
LF: Working through the offseason and through our first couple of scrimmages I think we could all tell that we had the potential to be a pretty good football team, but I don’t think any of us expected to have so many victories by such large margins.

MSF: What is it about your team that seems to make them gel so well?
LF: I think it comes down to how close the team is as a whole. I don’t think you’ll find a team who can joke around as much as we do then suit up on Friday or Saturday and be as completely focused and intense as we can be.

MSF: What did your one loss to Pope John do to your team’s confidence?
LF: That was a tough loss for us but I think it actually helped build up our confidence. Up to that point, we had racked up a few wins by pretty large margins. I think people began to wonder how we’d hold up against a team as good as Pope John. That game could’ve gone either way and knowing that we were able to compete with them helped to build on our confidence from the previous games.

MSF: How fitting is it that you get the face Ramapo who beat you in the final’s last season with a dramatic last minute 47 yard field goal?
LF: So fitting. I know the whole team has had a year to dwell on the last time we faced them. It builds up over time and to have a chance to get redemption on them is awesome.

MSF: How will you prepare for this game?
LF: It’s a big game for us but not much changes in the way we will prepare for them. We just have to have a good week of practice and get ready to play our game against them on Saturday.

MSF: Who is the flat out best athlete on your team?
LF: WIthout a doubt Jeff Sharpe. He may not get the most playing time but when it comes to pure athleticism the kid can basically do it all.

MSF: Who could beat you in the forty?
LF: We have a couple really quick kids on our team. I think the three that would definitely give me a run for my money are Alec Bowie, Teddy Fischer, or Nick Bevacqua.

MSF: Who could bench 225lb the most times in a row?
LF: Has to be either Randy May or Nick Bevacqua.

MSF: Who is the most intense guy on your team?
LF: Definitely Scott Byers. No one on the team shows more passion and enthusiasm for the game than him. Come game time and he’s basically foaming at the mouth.

MSF: Who on your team is the biggest diva?
LF: Hands down Reagan Penner.

MSF: What’s the worst part of practice?
LF: Probably team tempo drills. Running play after play that quick really wears you down but it definitely gets us in shape.

MSF: Were there any funny moments from practices this year that you can share?
LF: There are so many funny moments from our practices to even try and pick out just a few. But the week of Ronnie Pondiscio’s game captainship was full of a bunch of hilarious moments.

MSF: Who is the best athlete you have faced so far during your varsity career?
LF: Pope John’s Noah Brown

MSF: What will it mean for this team to win a State Championship?
LF: It would everything to this team. The whole team has worked so hard over the offseason into the regular season. We got to the State Championship last year but this year we want to win it.

MSF: Congrats again Lucas and give them hell the rest of the way! We’re totally behind you!

George Muha has been covering high school sports since 2006. He feels high school scholar-athletes are the most important part of the community and highlighting their achievements on the field, in the classroom and within the community is his personal mission.

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