Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 27
 
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
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>UP IN ARMS: Former Princeton Day School quarterback Clint O’Brien fires a pass last week as he practiced for the West team in preparation for the 12th annual Sunshine Football Classic, which will be played on July 2 at The College of New Jersey’s Lions Stadium. O’Brien, a football, ice hockey, and baseball star at PDS, is heading to Gettysburg College, where he plans to keep playing football and baseball.

After Developing Into Star QB at PDS, O’Brien Fired Up for Sunshine Classic

Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Clint O’Brien to distinguish himself at quarterback for the Princeton Day School football team.

Starting as a freshman in the 2004 season opener, O’Brien’s first pass completion was a 70-yard touchdown bomb to his older brother Dan.

O’Brien, who had only played a few games of Pop Warner football before his high school debut, did take some lumps that fall.

“My whole freshman year was a learning experience,” said O’Brien. “I think the biggest thing was that I had to learn how to play quarterback. I had played football with my friends but I really didn’t know the game.”

Over the next three years, O’Brien learned his lessons well, leading PDS to winning seasons in 2005 and 2007 and developing into a versatile quarterback who could break a game open with either the pass or a big run.

O’Brien’s athleticism and savvy was rewarded as he has been named to the West squad for the 12th annual Sunshine Football Classic, which will be played on July 2 at The College of New Jersey’s Lions Stadium.

Despite his achievements as a signal caller, the 6’2, 210-pounder wasn’t expecting to be picked for the all-star game, which benefits the Mercer County chapter of the Sunshine Foundation, a national organization that grants the wishes of chronically ill or handicapped children.

“I was surprised that I was picked at quarterback,” said O’Brien. “I thought they might want me at wide receiver. I am definitely looking forward to playing with those kind of athletes and competitors.”

Over the last four years, O’Brien has established himself as one of the greatest athletes and competitors to ever play at PDS, starring at ice hockey and baseball as well as football.

In fact, O’Brien thought he would specialize in baseball in college. “All along, I had wanted to play strictly baseball at the D-1 level,” said O’Brien, who strongly considered joining Lehigh’s baseball program.

But this past fall, O’Brien realized he hadn’t had his fill of football. “I was in the middle of football season and I realized that I wanted to keep playing football,” said O’Brien, who will be heading to Gettysburg College where he will be playing both football and baseball.

The bond among O’Brien and his fellow seniors on the PDS team helped cement his decision to stick with football.

“The whole senior class, guys like Mike Shimkin, Patrick Murphy, Andrew Ojeda, Carson Bird, and Jake Lipkin, we were all really good friends off the field,” said O’Brien, who will be joined by Shimkin and Ojeda at the Sunshine Classic.

“That made a huge impact; we had a lot of fun. We had a great time together.”

O’Brien and his classmates ended their PDS careers on a high note as they topped Elkton Christian Academy (Md.) 27-8 in the Crusader Invitational.

“We went down to Tower Hill for our final regular season game; both teams scored a lot of points and we were disappointed to lose,” recalled O’Brien.

“When we found out that we were going to get a second chance for a final game, we wanted to make sure that we took advantage of it.”

After playing in the Sunshine Classic, O’Brien will be looking to take advantage of his opportunities at Gettysburg.

“Gettysburg was open to me playing both football and baseball; I was recruited as a quarterback,” said O’Brien, who has been playing for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team while practicing for the Sunshine Classic.

“They have a junior coming back at quarterback; I’m going to an offensive camp with them after Sunshine Bowl.”

And if his PDS career is any indication, it won’t take O’Brien long to make a good impression at that camp.

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