Brentwood’s Conroy shares top conference award on defense
Pop in a DVD of Brentwood football game tape, and it’s not exactly a game of “Where’s Waldo” to find Cody Conroy.
If being 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds wasn’t eye-grabbing enough, Conroy’s play on the gridiron also stood out.
“He stands out when you watch film of him,” Kevin Kissel, Brentwood’s head coach, said. “He runs sideline to sideline and he has a motor on him. He really hustles his butt off.”
Kissel wasn’t the only coach who took notice, as Conroy, a senior defensive end, was declared the Ohio Valley Conference’s co-defensive player of the year after bullying his way into opponent’s backfields to the tune of seven sacks and 11 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Conroy — half-brother of former Brentwood football standout Michael Kish, a 6-4, 260-pound redshirt freshman tight end at Akron — shared the co-defensive MVP award with Brandon Wasko, a senior linebacker at Avonworth.
Making Conroy’s efforts all the more impressive is the fact he missed three games and parts of others because of a concussion and a separated shoulder, the latter of which occurred in the last game of the regular season and forced Conroy out of the Spartans’ season-ending loss to Jeannette in the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Missing the final games of his senior season had Conroy feeling down, but as he was handing in his pads at the end of the season, he received the good news about his conference co-MVP honor from his coaching staff.
“I was very pleased,” said Conroy, who doubled as an offensive lineman for the Spartans. “That was one of the goals I set for myself, and I was very happy I accomplished it.
“It makes me feel proud of what I accomplished. Four years of high school football finally paid off.”
Looking back, Conroy, a three-year letterman, said he has no regrets or hard feelings toward his tough-luck season.
“Absolutely not. (Injuries) are part of the game,” he said. “You have to take them as they come, persevere and come back stronger.”
That’s exactly what Conroy is in the process of doing.
He is rehabilitating his injured shoulder and plans to play in college. Although he does not have an offer yet, he has received interest from Akron, Lackawanna, Mt. Union and Fresno City College.
Even though he tips the scales at 250 pounds, the tall and lean Conroy, who was nicknamed “Stork” by his teammates, has the potential to fill out much more.
“If he spends some quality time in the weight room, he could gain 50 pounds and still not be heavy,” Kissel said. “I believe his best days are ahead of him.”
Brentwood was well-represented on the all-conference squad. Joining Conroy on the first team were seniors Connor McWilliams, at quarterback, and Steve Mattola, at defensive back; and junior Pat Carr, at running back.
McWilliams completed 98 of 213 passes for 1,502 yards, 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2014.
Carr had 1,280 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, plus an additional 278 yards receiving with two more scores.
Brentwood wideouts Dorian Bowie, a sophomore, and Nick George, a junior, were second-team all-conference picks.
The Ohio Valley Conference, which included Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic, the 2013 WPIAL and PIAA champion, and Avonworth, the 2014 WPIAL runner-up, was especially competitive this season.
The Spartans lost to both CWNC and Avonworth, but put up a tough effort in each. In fact, Brentwood scored the most points of any CWNC regular-season opponent before falling 55-20.
After Conroy suffered a concussion against Avonworth in what he said was his best game of the year, the Antelopes pulled away for a 35-7 victory.
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.