Monday, February 8, 2016

Cruz is a winner in football, school, family and life

By Andy Gross
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Anthony Cruz, quarterback for the JFK campus’ football team, works out at the school gym on Oct. 14.

When he is not scoring touchdowns, intercepting passes and electrifying the John F. Kennedy High School (JFK) faithful with his gridiron flair, Anthony Cruz can be found at home fixing his little sister Aliyah’s hair. 

That’s right.

Or watching Tom and Jerry cartoons with his little brother Deshawn while eating their mother Miranda’s baked barbecue chicken, potatoes and corn.

Once he is done with his daily class schedule at JFK, Cruz, a good student with a 3.0 grade point average whose favorite subject is math, watches game film and talks to his coaches in their offices.

When he puts his headphones on chances are Cruz is listening to football highlights accompanied by music that he’s downloaded. 

“It helps inspire me and work harder,” Cruz said.

On an average weekday he remains at school until 7:30 p.m. and then goes straight home.  

Cruz credits his success to his mother, Miranda.  “She’s everywhere,” he said.  “She’s at my games, brings me Gatorade — even helps me with my plays.”

He says what he likes most about football, besides winning is not the adulation or fame, “but the learning. Always trying to figure out new things about the game.”

Such is the exciting life of a senior star quarterback who ranks third in rushing yards and first in interceptions among all Public School Athletic League (PSAL) varsity football players 

Those numbers along with his solid grades and positive attitude has attracted the interest of several major division one college football programs.

Even after a record-setting performance on Oct. 12, when he scored six touchdowns on the ground and passed for another as JFK walloped Susan Wagner 53-20 Cruz, who was swarmed by teammates and fans after the game, remained modest.

“I don’t like talking about myself all that much,” said Cruz, who is 17.  “I like to let my playing speak for me. I try and stay humble.” 

A recruiting profile of Cruz might describe him as ultra-competitive, coachable,  a great athlete.

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