October 26, 2006

Which Long is best, Kyle or Chris?

Consider the convergence of an elite physical specimen, an impeccable pedigree and an unyielding desire to achieve anything imaginable.

Consider Kyle Long.

At 6-foot-7, 285 pounds, the St. Anne's-Belfield junior strikes fear into the hearts of his opponents. And why wouldn't he? When asked what he likes most about football, Long responded: "Football is a sport in which you are able to impose your will on the guy across from you."

It is no wonder opposing teams run away from the mammoth lineman.

Long, 17, came to STAB from Western Albemarle before the beginning of his sophomore season, where he had been as successful on the baseball diamond as on the football field.

"If I could use one word to describe STAB, it would be opportunity," Long said. "It has given me the chance to improve academically and mature athletically and mentally."

While Kyle has taken advantage of the tutelage of a tremendous coach in John Blake - and a Hall of Fame father in Howie Long - he also benefits from the guidance of his older brother, Chris, a defensive end at the University of Virginia.

"Chris drives me," Kyle said. "There are always comparisons being drawn between us but there is no comparison. He is always going to be the better football player and the tougher kid."

Speak for yourself.

"Kyle has much more potential than I ever had," said Chris, a co-captain at UVa. "I've been

around a lot of football players and he has the talent to be special. The sky is the limit."

The younger Long has garnered attention from every top school in the country and has received scholarship offers from many, including Ohio State, Louisville, and Boston College.

While Kyle is grateful for the interest, at the moment, he is more concerned with avenging a loss in last year's state championship game.

"I want to do everything I can to help my team win a championship," Long said. "We've said from the beginning of the year that if we're not first, we're last. We felt like we let ourselves down, we let our families and all the fans down last year. We never want to feel like that again."

This season, STAB (7-0), which will face fellow unbeaten Christchurch on Friday night, is ranked second in both the VIS Division II and Central Virginia rankings. Behind Long, tailback Colin Pehanick has broken the school's career rushing record. Defensively, the Saints are allowing fewer than 12 points per game. Coach Blake's fourth title in 10 years seems to be a distinct possibility.

"We're just trying to go out there and earn respect every week," said Long, who will match up against All-American and University of Virginia-commit J'Courtney Williams on Friday. "We feel like we have something to prove and we want to show people that we can play ball."

For the best coverage of high school sports in Charlottesville and Central Virginia - visit the Daily Progress web site


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