Athlete of the Week: MB’s McGonigal has big impact

mbfoot-44hitDefense has been the big story for the Myrtle Beach High football team so far this season, and Seahawks senior defensive end Sean McGonigal has been one of the biggest reasons.

After posting a personal record of four sacks in the Seahawks’ season-opening win over Class 5A power Byrnes, McGonigal had another big night in Myrtle Beach’s 34-13 victory over New Hanover (NC) last Friday.

The Seahawks have had to rely on their defense while the young offense finds its footing, and McGonigal has helped ease the transition. His hard-hitting, high-motor style have served as a source of inspiration for his teammates and Myrtle Beach fans.

“It’s easy for me to stay motivated during a game, said McGonigal, who earned the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Award for his contributions to the No. 2-ranked team in Class 4A. “Seahawk fans are awesome and the energy level at the games is intense.”

McGonigal matches that intensity on and off the field. After experimenting with other sports, including sharing time in the pool for the Myrtle Beach swim team, McGonigal fell in love with football and dedicated himself to maximizing his potential. He hit the weight room and attended football camps to become a solid 6-foot-2, 192-pounder with a good mix of speed and power, as well as a natural passion for the game that cannot be coached.

“I tried a number of sports at a young age, (but) football is physically demanding and very intense,” said McGonigal, who is ranked as the 50th top prospect in the state by the South Carolina High School Sports Report. “I am an energetic type of person and I think these characteristics match up well with football.”

So do a slew of college recruiters. McGonigal recently attended Ivy League prospect camps at Harvard University and Columbia University, and also represented the Seahawk football team at S.C. HSSR Top 100 Camp in July in an effort to make it to the next level.

“I thought the prospect camps were very good. They were a preview of what is expected to be at the next level (and) I think that these camps have helped me improve as a player,” McGonigal said. “It feels good to be ranked as a top defensive player in the state and I am very much looking forward to playing this year.”

While the honor roll student has a personal goal to play college football, he also has the bigger picture in mind of helping his team reach its goals. McGonigal puts his team first and pushes aside all of the hype around him to focus on the primary task of competing for a state title.

“I believe the team is more important than any one player on the team. I am willing to do anything for us to be more successful,” McGonigal said. “I feel good about the rest of the season. I believe that this Myrtle Beach team will continue to improve as the year goes on.”

Just like McGonigal.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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