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Men’s recruit: Malvern Prep’s Conners also a hit in football, but picks Duke for lacrosse

Friday, 13th November 2009

Categories Boy's/Men's, High School, Recruiting  

By Chris Goldberg, Posted 11/13/08

Malvern Prep defender Billy Conners is a blue-chip recruit on the lacrosse field.

But shortly after he FAXed in his official letter of intent to Duke University Wednesday on the first day of the early-signing period, his mind was again focused totally on football.

This fall, the Friar senior quarterback has put down his long pole and emerged as one of the top football stories this area has seen in years.

Through nine games, Conners has posted statistics that practically defy reality, especially for a first-year signal-caller who played defensive back last year.

His numbers: 55 completions in 73 attempts (75 percent) for 1,241 yards (17.0 average), 15 touchdown passes (six rushing) and only three interceptions. The result? Malvern is 9-0, having won the Inter-Ac League title and having outscored its foes 390-88 as it gears for a Thanksgiving Day title against St. Joseph’s Prep.

Did Conners believe he could enjoy this much success?

“Honestly, not really,” he said. “I am definitely real proud of the team. We did have a lot of people coming back and we really took it to heart to work hard this off-season because we knew we had a chance to be a talented team.

Conners, an All-American in lacrosse last year, said team chemistry has played a big role in Malvern’s football dominance. He, ace running backs Neil Willis and James Connelly (Delaware) and two-way end C.J. Mooney form the defensive line for Malvern’s defending Inter-Ac champion lacrosse team.

“I definitely think it helps playing other sports,” said Conners. “Like lacrosse, football is real physical and playing football helps in the physical aspect of lacrosse. Team-wise, we see a lot of similarities. From offense to defense, you have to trust each other to be successful in both sports. No one guy can win.”

Conners played a lot of lacrosse in the summer. He also spent a lot of time training for football. Was there time for anything else?

“I really didn’t,” he said. “I took a week off for vacation, but other than that I was either at a lacrosse tournament or I was at a football workout throwing to receivers. I didn’t have a day off all summer, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Conners said he chose Duke because of the school’s academic and athletic reputations.

“Probably, No. 1 is their academics,” he said. “Two, it’s so competitive as a program. Three,, it has similarities to Malvern in coaching and attitude of the school.

“It’s very exciting. I’ll have to work real hard to get on the field. Competing for the national championship every year is what every lacrosse player dreams of.”



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