Brian Ireland was enjoying his high school experience in Punta Gorda, Florida, when he suddenly faced a tough situation for any rising senior.
His parents were moving 1,000 miles away, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to come back to Delaware, where he lived before moving in middle school.
“I had all of my friends in Florida, and I already know my school and my town, and how to get around.”
Ultimately, the lineman decided to join them, and on August 15 he reconnected with some of his former friends in Delaware. Some of them are on Woodbridge’s football team, who were coming off an 8-4 campaign in 2016 that ended in the state semifinals.
“As soon as I got there, they told me they planned on being state champions. I didn’t know if they were just saying that or what, but then I come here and we kept winning, and we won the state championship.”
It was a 13-0 perfect season for the Blue Raiders, that was powered by a dynamic rushing attack anchored by Ireland and his fellow linemen.
“It was fun to watch that, if you saw somebody that was open to tackle them, they didn’t have a chance. You knew every play was going to be a big play, and that they were going to run their hardest.”
After Saturday’s DFRC Blue-Gold All-State Football Game, Brian will prepare for Wesley College’s training camp that kicks off late this summer.
He’ll be joined by First-Team defensive lineman Shymere Vessels, at a Wesley program that has seen talented Woodbridge players come through, including linebacker Jordan Wescott who played a key role in the Wolverines’ march to the 2013 Division III National Semifinals.
Off the field, Brian wants to become a teacher, with a goal of coaching high school football.
“I feel like I could be a good teacher by spending more time with the kids, instead of just going over general slides, and figure out which kids need help and try to help them a little better.”
Part of the Blue-Gold Game is being paired with a buddy, and Brian aims to have that experience help him as he reaches the classroom in the future.
“I learned how much more comfortable I was with people, and how much more social I can be with people.”
Ireland and Vessels will be joined by fellow-Woodbridge lineman Le’ah Styles in this year’s All-State Game. It will be played Saturday at 6pm inside Delaware Stadium in Newark. Tickets will be available at the gate.