SPRINGFIELD — Nick Apostolu is mean and nasty when he's in the trenches. Off the field, he's a caring, gentle giant.
The 6-5, 300-pound senior lineman is the type of kid who should have many nicknames to hype his immense size and strength. He can also be dubbed, "The Builder.'
In the offseason, while Apostolu was prepping for his final season wearing a Cougars uniform, he found time to volunteer with the Appalachian Service Project, an organization that brings thousands of volunteers from across the country to repair homes for impoverished families.
Apostolu spent about a week in Virginia in June, building houses and forever changing lives for the better.
"It's just something that I've done for years. I like it,' he said in August, following an afternoon practice session. "My brother started doing it when I was younger ... and I knew that's something I wanted to do because it's for a great cause. "
A two-way lineman, Apostolu is garnering plenty of interest on the recruiting trail. With Apostolu anchoring the line, the Cougars defeated Interboro in Week 1, 13-7, kick-starting what promises to be another successful year for a steadily improving Springfield squad that has advanced to at least the first round of the District One Class AAA playoffs in each of the previous three seasons. For Apostolu, he's been a big part of building a winning foundation on Leamy Ave. In the Interboro victory, he passed his first test with flying colors, besting an equally imposing figure in Matt Gould, one of the Bucs' top offensive lineman who, at 6-5 and 310 pounds, is the one player in the county who doesn't make Apostolu seem so terrifying.
"He was tough, strong,' Apostolu said. "It was a good match.'
Springfield starts the Central League slate as a heavy favorite tonight at home against Lower Merion.
Here are five of the best games on this opening weekend of the high school football season. Visit Delcofootball.com for more news and analysis throughout the season.