Nobody will mistake current New Britain High head football coach Paul Morrell for his predecessor Jack Cochran.
No, Morrell has not won any state championships. He doesn't sleep on a cot at the high school coaches' office and pore over game tape in between catnaps. Winning holds plenty of importance to him and his staff, but his top priority by far is turning his football players into productive human beings.
So when I asked Morrell after Friday night's 34-6 win over East Hartford about his amazing tailback B.J. Aponte, he said the following: "I tell you guys after every game that as great as B.J. is as a football player, he's even greater as a human being. He's going to go places."
With all the negative junk that we have to report about kids, Morrell's assessment of Aponte needs to be printed. It was printed in The Herald Saturday, and now it's here for all the world to see.
It helps to hear Morrell express his love for his All-State candidate, but Aponte's determined play demonstrates quite well that he has a passion for success, a passion for life. When he hits a hole behind that big offensive line, he accelerates like a Porsche burning high test. If the hole gets plugged, he squirms and battles for every inch.
On defense, he uses his quickness and that determination to make big plays, too.
Morrell may not have the 'Canes quite where Cochran had them in a football sense, but when the final reviews come in many years from now, who do you think will be the big winner? Morrell is building men -- fine young men -- and that stands to be far more important for the school and the community in the long run.