November 3, 2021

Following in a Family Tradition for Hun Football, Lineman Siegel Starring as Raiders Produce 7-0 Start

UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE: Hun School football players David Siegel, right, and Jake Lezzer celebrate after a touchdown last Saturday at Peddie. Hun rolled to a 56-21 win over the Falcons to improve to 7-0. The Raiders will look to remain undefeated when they host St. Frances Academy (Md.) on November 6 as the program celebrates its Senior Day. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

David Siegel warmed up to his new Hun School football team quickly.

The postgraduate came down twice for workouts over the summer from his New Canaan, Conn., home. “Instantly I felt part of a family,” said Siegel. “That’s the easiest way to put it. I came down and I had fun with the guys.”

On one particularly memorable day, Hun head coach Todd Smith moved his team inside the gym to escape a downpour. They played knockout and Siegel was a finalist in one game.

“Everyone was chanting my name,” said Siegel. “And I was this new kid who just met everyone. It made me realize how special of a place Hun is.”

Even before he joined the team, Siegel was already a name to the Hun family. The right tackle’s father, Robert, was a 1988 graduate of Hun who was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010, one of the few occasions that brought David to the campus before he arrived this fall.

“My dad gave me free rein of the whole process,” said Siegel.

“Coach Smith did reach out. I knew my dad went there and I was choosing between a few schools. After I talked to Coach Smith a lot, I just felt the most comfortable there, but my dad never put any pressure on me to go to The Hun School. Obviously he was excited when I did go there and when I got there the only number available to me was his old number [71]. He was really happy that I did choose The Hun School.”

The current Hun No. 71 made his dad happy again as he helped the Raiders improve to 7-0 with a 56-21 win at Peddie on Saturday. Hun finishes first in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL), and avenged a loss to Peddie in 2019 as well as another one that was a bit more personal to Siegel.

“For me, there was a little more on the line against Peddie,” said Siegel. “When my dad was a senior, his only loss was to Peddie. He couldn’t let that up. He was really excited for this game. Actually when we got to Peddie he walked around and saw the MAPL League championship that they lost to them. It was big for me as well in helping him.”

Siegel has been a part of an unbeaten start in his only year with the Raiders. He has enjoyed making his own memories at Hun after hearing about his father’s while growing up.

“He had always told me stories about how good he was in high school which I always laugh at,” said Siegel.

“It was really cool to be able to talk to him and hear what his experience was like and then actually come here to The Hun School and meet his old coach, Mr. [Bill] Quirk, who’s now the athletic director and trainer.”

Now Siegel is focused on Hun’s goal of trying to finish out a perfect season. The Raiders will host St. Frances Academy (Md.) on November 6 as the program celebrates its Senior Day. They will finish at Wyoming Seminary on Nov. 13.

“We want to be 9-0,” said Siegel. “That’s obviously everyone’s dreams. We want to leave no doubt on the field that  we are the best team here. We want to go 9-0, but we have to take each game one at a time.”

The latest win was sewed up early on when Hun scored four touchdowns in the first quarter and jumped out to a 28-0 lead and took a 42-14 advantage into halftime. Raider quarterback Marco Lainez III finished the game hitting 7-of-8 passes for 253 yards and four touchdowns. Jake Lezzer had two of those scoring catches as well as an interception to set up one of his scores, Owen Anderson had a touchdown reception and Ahmad Dixon had a touchdown catch and touchdown run. Kamar Archie and Sean Childs also scored touchdowns on the ground. Owen Wafle caught a touchdown pass from Jack Moran.

“I feel like the key for us was just spreading the ball around,” said Siegel.

“We don’t have just one playmaker, we have a bunch. I think we had five people score. And we’ve had around four or five people score every game. I think that’s something that makes us different and hard to beat.”

Week after week, the offensive line has drawn credit for setting up the skill players. While most of the line included returning players, Siegel’s addition has helped.

“One important thing about being a good offensive line is how close you are,” said Siegel.

“I feel like we work together so well. That’s why we’re able to be so good on the field. We know each other so well that when we take our steps, we know how we’re doing it, how we’re blocking someone. We’re so good together as a unit which makes us better on the field.”

The 56 points Hun scored against Peddie was a season- high. It’s the fifth time this season that the Raiders have scored 40 or more points. Hun has seen its team come together through the year.

“When someone goes down, someone else steps up,” said Siegel.

“Everyone is supportive. That’s where we improve and become one. On the offensive side, we’ve been running the ball great. When we run the ball, we can pass the ball off that same type of play. Offensively, it would be our run game that’s improved the most.”

The offense hasn’t needed to do much to win because of the defense’s dominance. Hun hadn’t allowed more than seven points in any of the previous five games before Peddie. Alex Robbins had 12 tackles and Dillon Bucchere had 11. Lezzer and Bucchere had interceptions.

“Defensively, we’ve been unbelievable all season,” said Siegel. “I have to hand it to the defense. They’re only allowing about seven points a game and they’re just killing it.”

Siegel has appreciated how much his new team has helped. Working daily with his teammates has helped prepare him for games and is setting him up for the jump to the speed of the college game.

“The people who I get to go up against in practice help me the most,” said Siegel.

“I’m going up against Logan (Howland), Dante (Barone), and Owen Wafle, who’s an absolute beast, every day in practice. They’ve helped me become so much better as an offensive lineman getting the best possible looks I could get. At New Canaan I wasn’t challenged the most in terms of scout reps and in terms of people on the scout team going against me, so I think the competition we have just during practice is huge.”

Siegel, whose father went on to play football at Hobart College, has grown each season, going from a 170-pound freshman to a 265-pound senior and now a 280-pound postgraduate. The extra year of high school has helped elevate his college status. He had interest from the likes of UConn and UMass after his senior season at New Canaan. Siegel committed verbally to Vanderbilt over the summer for the chance to play in the SEC and attend a strong academic school.

“It’s helped me immensely getting to work with coach Smith, who loves his offensive linemen,” said Siegel.

“He’s put out a bunch of great offensive linemen. He’s helped me develop. He’s helped me a ton in the run game, which was definitely my weakest spot coming into Hun. That’s the thing I think I’m best at this year. I’m happy he was able to develop me as an offensive linemen.”

Siegel was the perfect candidate to be a postgraduate after his senior season at New Canaan was cut to four games by the COVID-19 pandemic on top of missing his entire junior season due to a torn labrum in his shoulder. He played sparingly as a sophomore when New Canaan had a strong line. He has enjoyed being a part of Hun’s success in his last season of high school football.

“It really means a lot,” said Siegel. “My whole dream as a kid was to have a senior year with a great team.”