Eustace Teammates To Continue Together

Eustace Teammates To Continue Together Bishop Eustace graduating seniors Tim McConnell and Matt Fitzpatrick (pictured) both live in Cinnaminson, are best friends and, for many years, have been on the football field together. And even upon graduation, the two are headed to the next level together. Both have received scholarships to attend Duquesne University.

Duquesne competes in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as I-AA.

And as fate had it, both McConnell and Fitzpatrick got to represent their school one final time together. Bishop Eustace was one of the few schools that had two representatives in the Adam Taliaferro South Jersey Football Coaches all-star game July 2 at Rowan University.

The two players represented the White team, which consisted of athletes from Camden, Gloucester and Salem Counties.

Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. The game had to be cancelled with 3:45 left in the first quarter due to constant lightning that lasted for hours. The Blue earned a shortened 13-0 win.

Despite the shortened game, both said it was a great experience.

“To be picked together was an honor,” Fitzpatrick said.

Added McConnell: “To suit up with Matt Fitzpatrick one more time while representing Bishop Eustace was great.”

The two friends couldn’t be more different as players. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Fitzpatrick was a two-way lineman who earned first-team all-West Jersey Football League Royal Division honors on offense. He says he was recruited on the offensive line for Duquesne.

On defense, he recorded 24 tackles, two tackles for loss, and two sacks.

The 6-foot, 185-pound McConnell was a quarterback and defensive back for Eustace, earning second-team all-conference honors on offense. He was recruited to play in the secondary at Duquesne.

As a senior, McConnell had 37 tackles, one interception, and five passes defensed. He threw for 1,084 yards and seven touchdowns, and rushed for 905 yards (5.62 average) and 11 touchdowns.

“They were both such great kids and great leaders,” Eustace coach Rob Cormier said.

And both helped Bishop Eustace have one of the better turnarounds in South Jersey. After a 2-8 season in 2012, the Crusaders rebounded to go 6-5, which included a 16-14 Non-Public Group 2 opening round playoff win over Camden Catholic. It was the second win over the Irish in the 2013 season, which included a regular season 10-6 victory.

“Beating Camden Catholic twice was truly one of the highlights I will remember,” McConnell said. “Plus becoming a family with my teammates was also special.”

Both McConnell and Fitzpatrick are working out for their first college football training camp. The opening of camp at Duquesne is Aug. 3. Duquesne has sent the players a workout schedule and they have been following it closely. It consists of four days of lifting weights and six of running.

“There is a difference between being in shape and being in football shape,” Fitzpatrick said. “This has been a good workout schedule to get us ready.”

And both will be comforted to know that they will be going through this latest football experience together, the same way they have for virtually all their lives.

“We’re both excited to get going,” Fitzpatrick said.

And doing it together once again just adds to the excitement.

Photo (Marc Narducci): Bishop's Tim McConnell (left) and Matt Fitzpatrick

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Author: Marc Narducci; photo by Marc Narducci

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