The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

April 7, 2012

No doubting this Thomas

Madison standout Scarberry decides Mercyhurst is for him

Madison senior offensive lineman Thomas Scarberry admits losing to Aurora in the first round of the 2011 playoffs left a bad taste in his mouth.

The senior was hoping for a better ending to his football career with the Blue Streaks.

Luckily for Scarberry, that won’t be the last memory he has of football as the 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman is moving on to the next level of football, committing to play for Mercyhurst next season.

“Last year was kind of upsetting,” he said. “I’m glad we made the playoffs, but I was a little upset we didn’t go further. We lost a couple games and that didn’t let us get the seed we wanted and we ended up getting Aurora. That was a tough pill to swallow.

“But there’s nothing more to get me motivated for next year. I’ve been thinking about that since the season ended and I’m eager to get back on the field.”

While the son of Mel and Charlotte Scarberry will be making the transition to college football, he’ll also be making a position change.

During his sophomore through senior seasons at Madison, Scarberry primarily played left tackle but he’ll making a switch to left guard or center next season.

Although it’ll be an adjustment, he’s not concerned.

“The height difference knocked me over a position,” he said. “I used play guard back in the day playing pee-wee and freshman year I transferred over to tackle. It’s not that big of a change.

“It’s still just hitting people.”

There’s plenty to like about Mercyhurst as far as Scarberry is concerned.

Aside from the prospect of a quality education, he plans to major in criminal justice although he’ll officially be listed as undecided, the Lakers also have a strong football program.

“In 2010, they won their conference and made it to the Final Four in the Division II playoffs,” he said. “Last year, they came up short because their starting quarterback got hurt. It’s the same team this year so I’m hoping I can get on the starting squad and help them out.

“They said as long as I keep up the hard work and understand the program and work really hard I have a chance to get at least into the rotation. That’s enough for me to work with.”

Scarberry doesn’t have any intention of coming in and riding the bench during his freshman season.

Just as he did at Madison, he plans on setting his goals high.

“I’m more setting the bar high,” he said. “I plan on working hard enough to be all-conference. It runs over (from high school).

“I want the same awards I won at high school, All-Premier Athletic Conference and All-Ohio. It comes from the work ethic of playing at Madison. I expect that to last, and carry over to college.”

That work begins now, with the season still months away.

Scarberry said one of his favorite parts of high school football was training during the summer.

“I loved the teamwork, loved running and working with the team,” he said. “Having those grinders in the summer, I really enjoyed it.”

Right now, the lineman said he’s working on increasing his speed to get ready for the upcoming season.

“I’m definitely doing a lot of cardio, getting my speed work up, my footwork,” he said. “One thing I did when they sent me my workout packet, there was a lot of speed (lifting) reps not power. Just repping out as much weight as you can. I think that will be a benefit for me.”

As he reflects on his football career prior to college, the lineman said he certainly wouldn’t be in this position without the help of his parents.

“My mom’s always been there for since I was young, just washing my uniform, feeding me after practice, whatever,” he said. “My dad was always there for motivation. He helped me out with cutting weight, I’m a little on the heavier side and he’d always say, ‘Do you want to play football or not?’ He kept me going.”

Now that motivation leads to Erie, Pa. and a college football career beginning in August.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to go to the next level, not many get the opportunity to go off and do that.”

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