“He’s that guy who can change the energy of the game in one play.”

“He’s that guy who can change the energy of the game in one play.”

“He’s the real deal.”

That’s how Sanford football coach Mike Fallon described senior running back Pete Hegarty.

“He’s that high school player that weighs 100-and-nothing, he isn’t six-foot-two, he doesn’t fit all the prototypes that you are looking for, but he has a heart like a lion and a competitive spirit that is just hard to find. It makes him very unique,” said Fallon.

Hegarty is not only one of the Spartans’ top players on the field, but he is a leader off the field, according to Fallon.

“He plays the game like he loves it all the time. He’s a great leader on the field, highly respected by his peers, not just his teammates, but his peers,” said Fallon. “He’s got that kind of infectious personality that when he says something, kids listen. He does it in all the right ways, he’s not demonstrative about it, he’s just positive energy, a high spirit kid and who wouldn’t want to be around that?”

Hegarty has embraced the role of team leader.

“It’s nice to step up and show the younger guys how important the game is to you and how important it could be to them if they really want to try,” said Hegarty. “It’s fun to get everyone to work hard and, once you see everything pay off, it’s worth it.”

On the field, Hegarty provides a spark for the Spartans – and is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

“It’s huge,” said Fallon of having a playmaker like Hegarty. “I think in high school football you have to have one of those. If you don’t have one of those, it’s going to be a struggle. He’s that guy who can change the energy of the game in one play.”

Hegarty led the Spartans to a Homecoming win over Lewiston last week as he ran for 115 yards and four touchdowns.

The senior was quick to deflect praise to his teammates.

“It was special, especially for my last Homecoming, but I can’t do any of that without my line,” said Hegarty of last week’s win.

The theme of putting team first is something you will hear a lot from Hegarty.

“I love just when the team comes together and you play … obviously when you play well and everything is going great it’s fun, but even when it’s not going well, just the team atmosphere, you have everyone to fall back on. When things are going well, you have the team to celebrate with and it’s fun,” said Hegarty.

Fallon believes Hegarty’s mindset and personality are two of the things that make him a special athlete – even if he doesn’t look the part.

“If you were to see him walking down the hallway at school, you probably wouldn’t pick him out of the crowd and go, ‘wow, he’s one of the best football players on the team,’ but he is,” said Fallon. “He’s just that kid who has that electric kind of thing going on with his personality and the way he plays … at any moment he can turn a game or make a big play and he’s done that for us.”

Hegarty is also prone to stepping up in crunch time, according to Fallon.

“He also does that thing on critical situations, when it’s third-and-four and we need to get four and maybe we don’t block it right, or there isn’t as much space to run, he just finds a way. His will and determination is outstanding,” said Fallon.

For Hegarty, his senior season is full of mixed emotions as he is enjoying his time with his coaches and teammates, but also knows it will be over before he knows it.

“It’s a bitter-sweet thing. I certainly love the game more than anything and it will be sad when it comes to an end,” said Hegarty.

The standout is hoping to make this season one to remember.

“Gold Ball dreams, you know we want to get to the state game and win a state championship – that’s the dream,” said Hegarty.

Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282- 1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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