As a junior, Coatesville middle linebacker Tyler Burke had some notoriety to his name, but an 18-tackle performance in the state championship game swapped "some' to "much.'
Before his senior season Burke verbally committed to play football at the University of Maryland, all while leading a talented defensive unit to get ready for what he hoped would be another magical season.
Despite all the pressure to live up to the name he had built, Burke did not disappoint. While a major injury to Daquan Worley derailed Coatesville's chances of repeating history, Burke was brilliant. For that, Burke is the 2013 Daily Local News All-Area Player of the Year.
"It was a great time,' Burke said of his career at Coatesville. "That's really what my life's about. I love playing football.'
From the first play of the season to the last, no one in the Ches-Mont League played football better than Burke. Dealing with the added attention from opposing offenses, Burke still racked up 11 sacks and three interceptions for the Red Raiders, who finished 9-2.
"My sophomore year nobody really knew me,' Burke said. "Last year I started getting double teamed and this year was the same. Every year it got harder and harder.'
Yet Burke found ways to change games. He started all 39 games since his sophomore year, helping the Red Raiders win 31 of them.
Needless to say, replacing the man in the middle will one of Coatesville coach Matt Ortega's biggest offseason challenges.
"He's a special player,' Ortega said. "His class won 31 games over three years and he was a huge part in all that. He was a three-year starter and this year the thing I noticed about him was he didn't come off the field for us. He gave everything he had.'
Doubling as a tight end on offense, Burke caught six passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Most of his value came as a blocker, opening running lanes for the National Division's leading rusher, Worley.
Defense, though, is where Burke excelled, forcing offenses to play their best games to have a chance to win.
"As big as he is at 245 pounds, he's so athletic,' Ortega said. "The way he covers the field from sideline to sideline is impressive. He has such football IQ, and the intelligence he has being a middle linebacker is so far advanced and that's why he made so many big time plays.'
With Maryland joining the Big Ten Conference, Burke says he's "looking forward to beating Worley at Penn State' in years to come. There's no doubt the tandem made for one of the most dynamic pair of teammates the Ches-Mont has had.
Had Worley not torn his ACL in week eight, who knows where Coatesville would have wound up in the postseason. But fortunately for fans, this region has not seen the last of Worley or Burke.
While he writes the next chapter of his football narrative, Burke will likely not forget the one he recently punctuated.
"It was fun,' Burke said. "The coaching staff did a great job teaching us and we always had fun at practice. We won a lot of games as a senior class. It was a great time.'