Aberdeen senior, Austin Bonsall, who had a breakout season last year with the Eagles football team, is in a new role with the offense. After serving as a kick returner and versatile, explosive role player on offense as a junior, he's a featured cog as a senior.
Bonsall and the Eagles visit North Harford Friday.
Patch caught up with Austin just before the start of the season:
PATCH: After going to the state playoffs, how much has the mindset changed from where you guys were heading into the season a year ago?
Bonsall: We knew we were getting a good coaching staff. We had a positive mindset about what we wanted to do. We started to get our confidence up because we knew how hard we were working, compared to the 1-9 season. We knew coming into this season we had to work harder, because everybody was going to shoot for us because we had a good season. The mindset coming into this season was just work harder.
PATCH: Were you on varsity for that 1-9 season two years ago? What was that like?
Bonsall: It just makes you have a negative attitude about it. You start losing and you try to keep a positive attitude. But it's hard to stay up. It was definitely a motivator.
PATCH: Among your teammates, who is the funniest?
Bonsall: Bookman. Eric Briggs, we call him bookman. He’s just goofy. He’s the goofiest kid out here. It’s good though. We need it out here in practice. I’ve known him my whole life. I’ve been playing football with him since I was five. He’s just goofy.
PATCH: You guys are transitioning to a new quarterback—what was that like in pre-season?
Bonsall: Last year I did a lot of running back stuff. This year I’m moving out to slot, so I’m working a lot with the quarterbacks. We’re going to be good.
PATCH: Coach Johnny Brooks said he calls you "All Purpose Bonsall." How do you like that one?
Bonsall: He just calling me that this week, “APB.” I’ll let him call me what he wants. He has nicknames for everybody.
PATCH: Now that you're in Year 2 with him, what's it like playing for Coach Brooks?
Bonsall: He’s a good coach. I love playing for him. If he could come coach the college team that I’ll play at, I’d definitely want that. He’ll talk with you, tell you what you did wrong, but not put you down about it. He’ll single you out on film, but he won’t put you down to where you won’t want to play anymore. He’s always positive about things. Even when he has negative comments to say, they’re still positive. I think that’s what makes him a good coach.
PATCH: How much would a new field and new scoreboard mean to the school and the football program?
Bonsall: I was surprised [the Harford County Board of Education] turned down alumni that played in the NFL. We might get a scoreboard mid-season, and maybe a turf field next year. The juniors have their fingers crossed. It’ll be cool to come back and see a nice stadium for the younger guys to play on.
PATCH: You mentioned college earlier. Have you decided on where you'll go?
Bonsall: There’s a couple schools I’m looking at.