Favorite athlete: Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies because I love his work ethic, and he is humble.
Favorite team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite memory competing in sports: “My Pop Warner team, the Souderton Braves, won the Bux-Mont championship when I was on junior midgets. We worked really hard that year and everything came together for us that season. Several of my high school teammates were on that team with me.”
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: “During my first year on the varsity team, I was assigned to block a senior defensive lineman. He pushed me back so far that he pushed me through the soccer net at the end of the field and I ripped it!”
Music on iPod: Mostly rock
Future plans: Attend college and major in business
Words to live by: ‘Victory is reserved for those who want it most.’
One goal before turning 30: Be happy in my career and have a family.
One thing people don’t know about me: One of my favorite hobbies is ping pong.
By Mary Jane Souder
Souderton football coach Ed Gallagher calls Connor Newlin a lead-by-example captain.
“He doesn’t say a lot, but he doesn’t have to say too much,” the Indians’ coach said. “He doesn’t get in kids’ faces, but he just gives them that look, ‘Let’s get after it. Let’s get to work.’ He’s just a great kid.”
Newlin takes his role as captain and leader seriously.
“I feel responsible for almost everything that happens on the team,” he said. “During the games, I just feel like there’s a certain awareness.
“I have to set an example for everybody, even the kids that aren’t playing on the sidelines. Since they aren’t experiencing it yet, I have to show them what varsity football is all about to get them excited and get them ready for it. Something most people don’t think about being a leader is that it isn’t always about being vocal. You just have to set an example sometimes.”
Newlin’s thought process after Souderton’s disappointing 29-23 loss to Unionville in week two of the season speaks volumes about the senior captain’s mindset.
“Obviously, you have to let it sink in, you have to let it hurt for a little bit because that’s what’s going to drive you to practice harder and harder the next week,” he said. “It’s not something you can let go of so easily. You want to remember that feeling, and you don’t want to feel it again.
“Losing is one of the worst feelings you can possibly have, so to prevent that from happening, you’ve got to do all you can to win next week.”
The Indians won the following week, downing highly regarded Neshaminy 18-7 at Heartbreak Ridge. It was just the third loss at home for the ‘Skins in five years. Not surprisingly, Newlin was in the middle of the action on both sides of the football, lining up at offensive tackle and also filling in at defensive end in the absence of an injured Josh Lister.
“I’ve been thrilled,” Gallagher said of Newlin’s performance on both sides of the ball. “Connor Newlin has been our best defensive end, and that’s saying a lot because we weren’t expecting him to play many snaps defensively. He’s been very solid.”
It’s on the offensive line that Newlin has left his mark. A two-year varsity starter, Newlin saw varsity time as a sophomore.
“I was very impressed with him as a sophomore,” Gallagher said. “He was our third tackle and got a lot of reps.
“He’s been a solid two-year starter, and as good as he was offensively, I can’t say enough about what he did defensively on Friday (in the win over Neshaminy).”
While Newlin was a force on a defense that stymied the Redskins all night, he also delivered a pair of pancake blocks and consistently blocked his man – sometimes downfield – until the whistle.
“Connor has been our best offensive lineman for the first three games,” Gallagher said.
Newlin is an imposing presence on the line, measuring in at 6-1 and weighing 240 pounds, and he has enjoyed the opportunity to play both ways.
“It’s certainly a lot tougher physically, and it really drains you, but I love getting the opportunity to play both ways,” he said. “I get to have my foot in the game the whole time, and I feel more control of what’s going on.
Newlin has been playing football for almost as long as he can remember.
“I played baseball, basketball and football when I was younger, and I really liked playing all of them,” he said. “But eventually, when I came to high school, I realized I couldn’t play them all, and my favorite was definitely football, so I decided to stick with that one. It’s worked out well.”
Newlin continues to play basketball at the community level and plays church softball as well, but football is his passion.
“I love the intensity of football,” he said. “As opposed to the other two sports I played, it’s the only one where you can really go after someone, cut loose and have fun and hit people.
“I really enjoyed that as a kid, and I still enjoy it today.”
An offensive lineman his entire career, Newlin is putting everything he has into his final high school season.
“I definitely came out this year with more of a sense of urgency,” he said. “It just hit me during two-a-days this year that this is my last shot.
“Even if I do go on and play in college, I may not be playing as much as I did in high school. I love everyone on our team. We worked really hard to get here, and I know this is the year we leave it all on the field, just try as hard as you possibly can because you can’t get it back once it’s gone.”
Newlin hopes to play football at the collegiate level and has visited several schools.
“None of them have really come out and told me they want me to play there yet,” he said. “I have been going to some D-3 schools I really like, and I’m hoping I can play in college.”
According to his coach, finding a college that fits shouldn’t be a problem for Newlin, an excellent student whose schedule includes honors and AP classes. The senior captain also is an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“He always comes in with the right mentality,” Gallagher said. “He works hard in the weight room, and he’s a great academic student, so he’s going to have lots of options where he’s going to go to school.”
For Newlin, who plans to major in business, choosing the right college is a concern, but for right now, the Souderton senior is focused on his team’s next game and admits he lives for Friday nights.
“It’s all I think about all week,” Newlin said. “Long practices – even though they’re miserable sometimes, it all leads up to Friday nights.
“There’s no sport with that kind of intensity and the crowd. Just the feeling of being on a football team is different than any other sport because we’re basically a family out there. We’re playing for each other.”