Evan O’Donnell Interview & Photography by Olivia Bush Pennsylvania Issue 15
Evan O’Donnell A Highschool Quarterback Written By: Olivia Bush
Walk into CB East high school on a Friday afternoon and you will see CB Easts 6-5 football team preparing for their upcoming game. If you look in the right place you will see their starting quarterback Evan O’Donnell starting to mentally prepare himself for that week’s 48 minutes of football.
Evan has done a lot and worked hard to get to the position he is in now. “My dad brainwashed me into becoming a Redskins fan when I was four even though I live in Philly and then started playing football with me in the backyard. I’ve played quarterback for as long as I can remember, and it was my dad who even taught me how to throw,” Evan says.
Now when it comes to having a packed schedule Evan knows all about it. From football practice, to hanging with friends, and taking some of the highest-level classes Evan does it all and knows how to balance it while having fun. “My parents have always pushed me academically,” says O’Donnell, “So I know that if I mess up football will be the first to go. I sometimes ask my parents why I can’t go out with friends and they say, ‘Evan you hang out with them every day at practice’ and I realize that they’re right because all the guys on the team are my best friends”.
Now when I sat down with Evan, I asked him a lot about his senior season. “My senior season is definitely a special one,” States the quarterback. “One of my favorite memories of my high school football career was beating West this year. This is mostly because my junior season we had so many close games and never won one. I wanted to finally win a close game, and that’s what we did”. Not only did East beat West this year, but they also beat South, winning the CB cup. They also beat Pennridge, securing them a spot in the Division One Playoffs. This is what Evan says made his senior season the best. Now everyone has a moment that they look back on and go that was so embarrassing. When I asked Evan what his was, he responded with “junior year, North Penn, I fumbled the ball out of the back of the endzone. My friends still give me a hard time about it, but we all know that we all make mistakes”. When it comes to pre-game rituals and players favorite parts of game da y everyone is different, but O’Donnell shared with me some unique ones, “Before every game I watch Drew Locks and Baker Mayfield’s college highlight reels, that gets me in the zone. Then when we go out to the field, I say a prayer at the 30-yard line, and that gets me ready to play. As far as my favorite part of gameday it would be playing the game and if we win, knowing that I helped the team win is a great feeling,” Evan says.
When asking Evan about his favorite play to run he says that the play is his favorite because of the memories that go along with it. “It’s a slant and go play. This is my favorite because this play is the play that helped us beat West this year. It is also the play that was used in the first touchdown me and my best friend Chris scored together”. Now anyone who goes to East football games knows that when Evan and Chris are out on the field together, they are unstoppable. When I asked Evan what it’s like getting to play and make game changing plays with his best friend; he responded with nothing but raving remarks about the wide receiver, “I would say it’s surprising, but Chris talks in my ear a lot and is always telling me that it will happen one day. I believed him and then it happened. I can never fully make a play without Chris. We have accomplished so much together, getting 1st team all-league together this season. He makes me look good and I am glad”. Afte r hearing this I briefly sat down with wide receiver Chris Lochetta and asked him what he thought about making game changing plays with his best friend and he told me, “Me and Ev have been neighbors for over 13 years so we’ve been imagining these types of plays and opportunities since we started throwing the ball in his yard. What we have accomplished this year is amazing and now we hope to play in college together soon”. Now Chris isn’t Evans only close friend on the football team. “I’ve been best friends with these guys since 8th grade and some before that,” says O’Donnell. “We have always been close, and football has brought us closer”. Many people that walk the halls of CB East high school know that the team is like family. When I asked Evan about what it is like he says, “It’s great, they are all brothers to me. We are really like family. Yes, we fight a lot but, in the end, we will always have each other’s back,”. When CB Easts football team manager Liv was asked about Evan and the team she said, “Evan is one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I ask myself every practice if Evan O’Donnell can get any nicer and then something happens for me to go, oh yes, he can. As far as the team goes it is like I have 60 older brothers who I know would do anything for me and I would do the same for them,”.
According to O’Donnell some people think the team can be ignorant but really, they’re loads of fun! “Sure, we are very serious at practice and on the sidelines, but what people don’t see is how much fun we have. Our dance offs, Coach free style rapping, guys dancing in the weight room, and the week we play West is always entertaining. So yes, we are a hardworking team, but we balance out with fun,”.
If you go to a football game home or away, one thing you will always remember is the student section. “They are amazing,” says O’Donnell. “yes, the summer time was hard but once school started they have showed up to every game no matter how far, rain or shine”. I quickly sat down with someone that is regularly in the student section, spending time with friends and classmates, but also watching Evan play. When asked what she loves about getting to watch the games and Evan play his girlfriend Sammi Garoman adorably responded “It’s really awesome to watch him play because I know how much time and energy he puts into football. I love that during every game he goes out and plays to the best of his ability and always tries to improve himself. Watching him make plays makes me happy because I know he’s out there doing what he loves,”.
When I asked Evan about his future, he says he doesn’t want to stop playing football and wants to play college ball but doesn’t know where,”. When asked what he will miss about high school football he responded “Everything, the game in general. No other level of football has this much energy. Lastly, the people. I’ll miss the coaches because they have shaped me to become who I am today and my teammates because they’re my best friends and my family.”
To say that Evan O’Donnell has a passion and heart for the game of football is an understatement. He is truly a great high school quarterback.
Evan was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.