In the 2022-2023 season, their first season, the King/Drew Golden Eagles football team had an overall record of 9-3 and finished second in the Coliseum League with a record of 4-1. Their efforts earned the Golden Eagles the City Section Division II Quarterfinals.
One student athlete even received an athletic scholarship to Georgetown. After just one year of playing high school football, Kyler Dale will play on the Hoyas football team next fall.
“I’m grateful for everything I have,” said Dale. “That was my main goal when I started football, trying to get a scholarship, my mother doesn’t pay.”
King/Drew director Reggie Brookens has championed a football team for nearly a decade. King/Drew assistant director of athletics Eric Fitzpatrick contacted Joe Torres to become the head coach and put together a team.
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Torres noted how he has improved football programs in the past.
“I helped found St. Francis Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, which is now a powerhouse across the country,” Torres said. “My job as a head coach before here was at St. Bernards High School … I had flipped the program within a year and the last two years that I was there we made the playoffs.”
Junior linebacker Sadiq Henry is the co-captain of the team along with Dale. Henry has also received several college offers after his freshman football season. He also plays for the Golden Eagles basketball team. The effort and skill he mustered on the gridiron would earn Henry the honor of the All-City Division II defensive second team.
As a manager, he has learned to think quickly, be patient and take responsibility.
“There was a moment when people just looked up to me,” Henry said. “I really had to learn very quickly how to lead 50+ guys in practice or in the weight room… and whatever they did, I was in charge.”
Sophomore Chinedu Onyegoro became the All-City Division II defensive line MVP, signing 19 sacks during the season. Like Henry, Onyegoro is on the boys basketball team. Playing football taught Onyegoro the importance of staying tough and not giving in.
“There’s no running on the pitch, there’s no running on the field,” he said. “I feel like our athleticism and our speed and pace helped us in football too.”
Torres’ efforts to coach the Golden Eagles did not go unnoticed. The Los Angeles Chargers nominated Torres for the 2022 Don Shula Award.
Torres noted the enthusiasm King/Drew students have for understanding the fundamentals of football and applying their new knowledge to competitions.
“The goal for this year was to move on,” Torres said. “These kids were eager to learn the game of football.”