“This season, the Eagles have some up-and-coming talent ready to step in on what everyone hopes is a contender on the gridiron.” – Gholston, Special Writer for the GLIAC.
At 3-0, and ranked 17 in the AFCA Division II polls, the Ashland Eagles are a big threat. Tied for 1st in the GLIAC South, they have a lot to look forward to this season. They have one shut-out, and two victories with a margin of 15 or better, while averaging 412.7 yds a game. It seems to me like this team has some quality players.
I had the pleasure of interviewing an old friend, Dan Piko. Piko (6), is a Sophomore, due to being Red Shirted his Freshman year. Having a great deal of playing time in ’11, playing all 11 games, he averaged 12.2 yds a game. With 216 yds total, and 1 TD, he has surpassed those numbers. In just 3 games, Piko has 216 yds, 1 TD, and averages 16.5 yds a game.
Piko was a friend of mine, and former classmate, at Marist High School. Being one of the stars of Marist’s team, earning All-State, All-Area, and All-Conference, I knew he would agree to an interview with an old friend. Dan Piko, 21 years old, grew up in Oak Lawn, Illinois. He has played football since he was 10, going on to play for Marist High School, and now Ashland University. Despite his favorite athlete being from a different sport, Michael Jordan, football was always his favorite sport.
Almost immediately after asking, Piko agreed to do an interview with me.
Zack Bullington – Who or what gives you the inspiration to play football?
Dan Piko – My family, especially my brother, who never had the chance that I have today.
ZB – Are you on a special diet to stay in shape?
DP – A protein shake after workouts, but that’s about it.
ZB – What workout helps you stay in shape best?
DP – Any workout that consists of both running and lifting.
ZB – What workouts do you do in the off season?
DP – In the winter, I work on heavy lifting, speed, and quickness. Summer is more repetition lifts, and conditioning for the season.
ZB – Is football more physical, or mental?
DP – Football is 50/50. You have to clear your head, and have an understanding of the plays and the game, to be successful. You need to be physical, tough, and a fighter to play this game.
ZB – Do you have a “motto” you go by?
DP – I’m not to sure if I have a motto, but I do receive a text every game day from my brother Johnny. That really gets me going.
ZB – What is the best advice you have ever been given? Who told you?
DP – Don’t take sh*t from anyone. My dad told me that at a young age, and I’ll never forget it.
ZB – What is your “Ultimate Goal”?
DP – Win the next game, and hopefully that will lead to a championship.
ZB – What is your “mindset” to help you achieve your goals?
DP – I was raised to work hard in anything I do. I was blessed with size and health, that my older brother, Johnny, never had. I grew up watching him bust his a**, just to get a spot on a varisty team. I work as hard as he did because he didn’t get the opportunity that I have. I’ll do anything to try and make him proud of me.
ZB – What has been your biggest challenge so far? What did you do to get passed it?
DP - My freshman and sophomore year, I suffered two fractions in my last vertebrae. It really affected my performance in a way where I was nothing like the player I used to be. This last winter, I worked harder then I ever have to get back to my old ways, and even better. I knew I could either give up, or bust a** to make it right. My parents and brothers played a huge role in that decision.
ZB – What makes you different from the rest?
DP - Growing up, I always had a ball in my hand. I watched 4 of my brothers play my whole life. I had a mindset from early on that I would be the best in my family. I took that into every workout and every game. Today, I don’t know if I have reached that yet, but I can tell you that I will not stop, until my family is proud of my accomplishments on the field.
ZB – What are your biggest accomplishments, college wise, so far?
DP - I have started here for two years, so I am happy about that. As a team, we haven’t been the best, but this year I have rededicated myself to the sport. So far, we are 3-0, and ranked 17th in the nation. We take a day by day approach on my team, so my best accomplishment this week, will be beating a tough team on the road.
ZB – Does your team have a nickname for you?
DP - I don’t have a nickname from my team, but growing up my family called me Bricker. It’s short for, “Brick, The Sh*t House”, because I was kind of fat, and loved to run with the ball.
Dan, and the Eagles, are traveling to the Superior Dome, to play Northern Michigan. Trying to go 4-0 for the first time since ’91, I smell a chance for something big to happen. Good luck during the rest of your season, Eagles.