Loyola D-lineman doing “Good” things
Updated: October 21, 2011 7:51AM
Life is good for Darby Goodwin.
He’s a rising star on one of the state’s top football teams, one heading into its biggest game of the season this weekend. But the Loyola junior doesn’t take his blessings for granted.
Credit that to his upbringing. Goodwin’s parents, Robert and Edie, work with Jesus People USA, a group affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church that provides services for people in the Uptown neighborhood who are down on their luck.
“It makes me really grateful for the things that God has given me,” said Goodwin, who helps out his parents’ ministry when he’s not too busy with school and sports. “There’s a lot of people in need.”
Along with his and his families’ good deeds, Goodwin stands out because he’s one of the more productive defenders for No. 4 Loyola. The Ramblers (8-0, 3-0) host No. 6 St. Rita (7-1, 3-0) Saturday at 1 p.m. in the MeTV Catholic League Blue Game of the Week with the conference championship on the line.
Loyola has the league’s top quarterback in Malcolm Weaver and a stable of dangerous receivers including Charlie Dowdle, Marquese Martin-Hayes and Connor Person. But it’s a defense that has allowed just 77 points all season and held five opponents to a touchdown or less that makes the Ramblers a threat to go deep in the Class 8A playoffs once again.
Goodwin, a 5-foot-11, 225-pound nose guard, is one of the leaders of that unit. He came to Holecek’s attention when a former Loyola player touted Goodwin, then a standout with the Wildwood Park Seminoles youth football team.
Goodwin came to Loyola with a reputation as a good player and a good student. “The kid has not disappointed me,” Holecek said. “He’s not big, [but] he’s nasty. He’s strong and quick, he’s really, really smart.”
Goodwin’s also adaptable. After playing on the offensive line at the lower levels as a freshman, he was moved to the defensive line and promoted to the varsity starting lineup last fall. It wasn’t an entirely smooth ride. “I broke my ankle halfway through the year and it set me back,” Goodwin said.
But he’s healthy and seeing the benefit of a busy offseason in the weight room now. “I definitely feel more comfortable playing every day,” he said.
And he prefers his new position: “I like playing defense a lot more than I do playing offense. The defensive strategy is more fun.”
But then when you’re playing for an unbeaten football team with some big prizes within reach, fun is pretty much a given.