PERU — They were the heart and soul of the St. Bede Bruins football team this year, playing both sides of the ball and keeping the Bruins geared up for another postseason appearance.
Senior Bobby Morrow (RB/DB) and junior Michael Bellino (TE/LB) were named First Team All-Conference both offensively and defensively and teammate Brandon Pietrowski (G/LB) was First Team Offense and Second Team Defense.
They now team up as the 2012 BCR Co-Players of the Year, the St. Bede Act II, if you would. They follow former Bruins’ Adam Burgess, J.P. Perona and Logan Willand, who shared the honor a year ago.
Who better to describe their talents than one another as we ask each to take a turn at telling what their teammates meant to the success of the Bruins this season.
On each other
Morrow on Bellino: “Michael meant a lot to our team this year. Although they don’t let juniors be captains, he meant as much as captains this year even as a junior. So he meant a lot to our team leadership-wise. On defense, the two linebackers pretty much led our defense. And offensively, too, he helped out lineman and wide receivers as tight end he meant a lot.”
Morrow on Pietrowski: “Brandon didn’t have as much as experience on defense; he didn’t start the year before, but he stepped up as good as any linebackers I’ve seen.”
Bellino on Morrow: “Bobby works really hard all the time in games and practice. Everyone thinks he’s small and maybe doesn’t expect too much from him, but he runs really hard, and he’s not afraid to put his shoulder down. He was really the driving force of the backfield, I feel, this year. On defense, he always kept his intensity up, and he helped direct the DBs, where maybe me and Brandon weren’t as experienced and always knowing what was going on. And Bobby always knew what was going on back there.”
Bellino on Pietrowski: “Brandon and I are pretty confident with each other, helping each other out on offense and defense. The whole offensive line pretty much gelled together. We were all there last year, so we had a lot of fun. I’m going to miss those guys. Brandon did a great job leading this year, in my opinion. He was our vocal leader, I would say, getting people pumped up and always keeping it positive to bring the best out of people.”
Brandon Pietrowski on Michael Bellino: “He gets after it every game. He’s a great tackler. In clutch situations, he’s always there, always the first one tackling and wrapping them up. He’s a great overall football player. One offense, he’s a great blocker; he usually drives his man six or seven yards down the field. He’s a great asset to our offensive line.”
Brandon Pietrowski on Bobby Morrow: “Offensively, every time we needed a big play, he was there. Every time he ran the ball, I felt confident he wasn’t going to get tackled by the first guy. He’d make a couple guys miss, and he’d break one of them off anytime you wanted. Defensively, he always deflected his passes. You always trusted him in the secondary, came up with big plays, had three of four interceptions this year, and not many teams could get past him.”
On the season
The Bruins placed third in the Big Rivers Conference with a 7-2 record, handing Amboy its first loss (20-14) of the season in Week 7. And while pleased with its regular season run, they couldn’t quite feel fully satisfied, bowing out to Monmouth-Roseville 40-27 in the first round of the playoffs.
“Satisfied, I would say no,” Bellino said. “You work hard the whole offseason and try to go far in the playoffs. I was pretty upset we lost in the first round. I really wanted another shot at Newman. I wasn’t really satisfied, but I don’t have any regrets either. It was a great season. I love the guys I played with, and I’m going to miss them next year.”
“Losing in the first round was kind of bitter,” said Pietrowski, who has been recruited to play football by Quincy and Aurora universities. “My expectations of this team was going deeper in the playoffs, matching what we did in quarterfinals last year and maybe go to state. I mean, this team had a lot of potential. The team we played, Monmouth, they were very a good team and had a great running back. I felt as a group we could have got first in the conference but Newman ... There’s always great teams in the conference every year.”
“I wished we could have got a few more games there at the end and won a few more games,” Morrow said. “Overall, pretty much every game was tough no matter who we were playing. There wasn’t any easy teams. We all stuck together. We won the games we were supposed to win and won a few more, too.”
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