RAVENSWOOD – He remembers his time as a ball boy for the Ravenswood Red Devils like it was yesterday.
Suddenly, the guy staring back at Heath Burgess in the mirror is going to be a senior.
Burgess will begin in earnest his final year as a Red Devil football player on Monday when preseason practices begin. Burgess is Ravenswood’s returning starter at quarterback and safety.
It’s the first of three sports he will be a part of (like always) this school year at Ravenswood High.
Burgess has been a busy guy during summer vacation by going from one sports workout to another.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it,” said the soft-spoken Burgess, who had just returned from a baseball camp at West Virginia State University.
On the diamond, Burgess played for an American Legion baseball team based in Meigs County, Ohio. On the court, he was heavily involved with workouts for Runnin’ Red Devil basketball.
Oh, and by the way, he has done everything humanly possible to be the best football player he can be in 2013.
“I just needed to get way better,” he said of football. “I’ve worked on my passing, my foot work, my speed, my strength...you name it.”
He said there has been nothing more enjoyable this summer than being out on the turf at Flinn Field throwing passes to teammates and envisioning games under the lights. “It pops up in your head. It’s just a feeling you can’t forget,” he said of Friday nights.
Burgess wants to be the best he can be in hopes of helping Ravenswood turn things around after last year’s 2-8 record.
“We were a play away in a lot of games,” he said. “We’ve been looking at a lot of stuff (on film) from last season. We just didn’t finish out (some games).”
With a year as the starting quarterback under his belt, Burgess knows the speed of the game will slow down considerably this coming season.
“I know the experience is going to help me,” he said.
A year ago, Burgess competed 62-of-163 passes for 678 yards.
He threw four touchdown passes while suffering 12 interceptions. Burgess carried the football 50 times for 201 yards and scored three times.
Defensively, Burgess will be roaming the secondary once again. “I need to make my tackling in the open field a lot better this season,” he said.
On the prevent side in 2012, Burgess picked off two passes, had five pass breakups and collected 40 tackles.
Page 2 of 2 - He’s looking forward to the second season of the Mick Price era for Red Devil football. “He’s everywhere,” said Burgess chuckling of the man who is also his head basketball coach. “I’ve gotten used to it. Everywhere you go, he is there.”
Speaking of coaches, Burgess said it’s been a real treat to share the experience of high school football with his father, William, a line standout back in the day for Big Walnut High School in the Columbus, Ohio area. “It’s awesome,” he said of his father’s presence in practices and games. “I can’t really explain it. He’s been there my whole life in sports.”
His mother, Jenny Beth, was a majorette during her high school days. She was the head majorette during the 1979 football season (her senior year).
With just a few days left before the preparation for his last football season begins, Burgess can hardly wait.
“I’m really excited. I can’t hold anything back,” he said.
Because just like that, the one-time ball boy is now a senior.