The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


March 6, 2013

O’Connor ready for next level

Jefferson standout will head to Heidelberg

As a key piece to a Jefferson defense that helped lead the Falcons to a 15-5 mark over the past two season, senior Nathan O’Connor knows what it’s like to be part of a program on the upswing.

O’Connor will continue to play for a program headed in the right direction when he attends Heidelberg next season to play for the Student Princes.

Heidelberg is fresh off a 9-2 season, the first time it has had that many victories since 1972.

“I just really liked the program they had,” O’Connor said. “It’s a really nice program with a great coaching staff.”

The 6-foot-1 linebacker will likely start out on the JV squad for the Student Princes next season, but he isn’t worried about how long it takes him to get to varsity, he’s just focused on learning.

“For right now, they see me playing linebacker, start at JV then work my way up,” he said. “They run a 4-3, but they switch it up. Seeing how I’ll be a freshman and learning a whole new plan, I’m hoping to do special teams, get a chance to sub in and just do my job on scout team and make the varsity better.

“I don’t think it’s a big deal to not start as a freshman. I’ll just do my best to work my way up. Hopefully, one day I’ll be a starter.”

One thing that O’Connor believes will be a benefit to him as he adjusts to life at Heidelberg will be the team concepts he learned while playing at Jefferson.

“I learned a lot about teamwork, definitely,” he said. “That helped me but the coaching staff at Jefferson did a really good job teaching me how to work with other players.

“(Jefferson assistant) Coach (Rob) Mead did a great job working with me on my footwork and getting me ready for the next level.”

O’Connor got his first chance to start as a junior, giving him the opportunity to contribute to the Falcons’ recent string of success.

For the linebacker, the last two years were a great experience.

“These last two years were really fun,” he said. “My first year starting on varsity as a junior, that was amazing that I got to do that for the team and show the coaches what I could do.”

There were plenty of great memories for O’Connor during his time with the Falcons, but one sticks out in particular.

The senior intercepted a pass last in his final home game at Falcon Pride Stadium and returned it 13 yards in a 32-14 win over Conneaut.

“I think my favorite memory was Game 10 of this year and getting my first interception against Conneaut, that was definitely most memorable,” he said. “I hadn’t had an interception. My parents always wanted me to get an interception or a fumble return for a touchdown. It was the last game and I wasn’t really expecting it.

“But it was really memorable, especially being on senior night.”

The son of Jim and Susie O’Connor said his parents were very helpful with the recruiting process.

“They have been very helpful with just getting to the schools and talking with the coaches to making sure it was the right choice for me,” he said. “They’ve always supported me since I started playing football. They really supported me in all my sports throughout my life.”

O’Connor also credited Jefferson coach Jimmy Henson, assistant Dave Wright and the aforementioned Mead as being positive influences on him.

“Coach Henson was a great coach,” he said. “Especially, with him giving me a chance on defense and just letting me learn the scheme and help the team. Big Dog (Wright) and Mead always gave me great support.”

Between now and the start of next season, O’Connor, who plans to major in environmental science, said he’ll continue to work on strength to prepare him for the next level.

“The coaches are making sure I’m lifting and getting ready for their program,” he said. “They mainly want me to get stronger so that I’m ready to go against some of those 300-pound offensive lineman.”

Text Only
  • SB Heralds roll

    It may have taken a little longer than coach Mike Houser would have liked, but the St. John softball team made a few crucial adjustments. It was those adjustments that led to a 12-2 victory over Horizon Science Academy on Thursday at Massucci Field.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mustangs come up short

    The Grand Valley baseball team hasn’t had a plethora of leads to deal with so far this season. Thursday afternoon, the Mustangs got one early, but saw Ledgemont erupt for 4 runs in the fifth inning to claim a 10-8 Northeastern Athletic Conference victory.

    April 25, 2014

  • Barber’s boys bounce back

    The top of the first inning of Jefferson’s non-conference clash with Champion didn’t follow a script that Falcons coach Scott Barber probably would’ve liked.

    April 25, 2014

  • Scholastic Statistics:

    St. John 12,
    Horizon Science Academy 2
    at Massucci Field

    April 25, 2014

  • Area High School Baseball Statistical Leaders:

    INDIVIDUAL BATTING (minimum 15 at-bats)
    PLAYER    SCHOOL    AVG    OB%    SLG%    AB    R    H    2B    3B    HR    RBI    SB
    Travis Kiser    PV    .647    .682    .823    17    8    11    3    0    0    1    11
    Graham Becker    Riverside    .500    .533    .500    28    5    14    0    0    0    3    1
    Matt Barber    Jefferson    .486    .565    .568    37    9    18    3    0    0    15    0

    April 25, 2014

  • Scholastic Schedule:


    Cardinal at Edgewood (4:30)
    PV at Brookfield (5)
    Ledgemont at Madison (4:30)
    Geneva at Jefferson (5)

    April 25, 2014

  • Complete performance

    It has taken a while for the Grand Valley Mustangs to put it all together on the softball diamond this season. Wednesday afternoon, the Mustangs did just that, combining a superb pitching effort by Katie Paskey with a tight defense and opportune offense to smother the Maplewood Rockets, 8-1, in Northeastern Athletic Conference action.

    April 24, 2014

  • Pirates sail past Eagles

    The seniors on the Perry softball team wanted to talk with coach Frank Rico. They had some ideas for how their coach could help the Pirates. Rico was receptive of the players’ thoughts. It didn’t hurt that the Pirates were right on the mark in their assessments.

    April 24, 2014

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Years of wonder, indeed...

    The recent effort that appeared in this space last week about things yours truly did while growing up that prompted several replies, which were also published as a followup, brought one more into my inbox the other day.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thompson breaks own vaulting mark

    Geneva pole vaulter Ally Thompson is competing mostly with herself in the early going. She claimed a major victory in that category in toppling her own Ashtabula County record in the Eagles’ victories over Lakeside and Harvey at Spire on Wednesday.

    April 24, 2014

Sports Week in Review April 14 to 19
Sports Week in Review April 7-12
Spring Sports Practice in Ashtabula County
2014 AP BB Tourney Top 25
2014 AP BB Tourney Scoreboard
2014 AP BB Tourney News
2014 AP BB Tourney Photos
Star Beacon-Ed Batanian Senior Classic
Girls Regional Basketball Action
Week of Champions
Sports Week in Review February 21, 22
Grand Valley at Edgewood Boys Basketball
Sports Week in Review Feb. 3 to 8
Sports Week in Review January 30 to Feb. 1
Sports Week in Review January 13-18
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video