Pelham Pythons Football '07

Jarrod Thompson, Staff Photographer

Double Duty: Pelham's Trainor working overtime this fall

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Thursday, October, 11 By Bob Albright
Staff writer

An honors student, Dan Trainor is more than capable of doing the math.

"Unless we win out, we're not going to make the tournament," said the senior captain of the Pelham boys soccer team. But that does not mean that Trainor is not going to get a taste of the postseason this fall. Take the helmet and shoulder pads off the masked man doing the kicking chores for the hottest team in Division 5, the Pelham Pythons, and you'll uncover the same guy who has been a four-year fixture on the soccer field for Pelham.

After looking into the possibility of utilizing his piston-like right leg in both endeavors a year ago, Trainor made it a reality this fall and in the process experienced two very different seasons. His soccer team sits at 3-8-2 heading into its final three games. When he trades his shin guards for thigh pads, however, he joins a football team that has done little wrong while racking up a 6-0 record in convincing fashion.

"It has been a little weird because they are having different seasons," said Trainor of the transition between the two. "But it has been nice. I've enjoyed it." So, too, has Pelham AD and assistant football coach Tim Powers, who urged Trainor to give it a try.

"He was just the kind of guy we were looking for," said Powers. "He's a three-sport athlete (actually, four) and has a very strong leg."

While his first love, soccer, has remained his top priority this fall, Trainor has appeared in three football games and usually practices with the team once a week. Whenever his soccer season is over, he'll join the football team full-time and hopes to be kicking extra points deep into the playoffs.

"He's a soccer player first," says first-year Pelham soccer coach Matt Regan of his leading scorer (8 goals, 4 assists). "If I have a late practice, he goes to football practice and then comes to soccer practice."

After coaching Trainor for three years in basketball, Regan had few doubts that Trainor could pull off the double duty. "He's such a nice and well-mannered kid, as well as being one of the best students in the school," said Regan of Trainor, who is ranked in the top 10 percent of his class of 140 and who would like to study engineering at either the Coast Guard Academy or RPI.

The only hiccup Trainor has had this fall on the gridiron predictably came in his first game at Bow. On his first PAT attempt, his plant foot slipped and the ball sailed wide. The next two kicks were blocked.

"At first it was pretty nerve-racking," said Trainor, who does not kick off a block like most kickers, but instead kicks off the ground as he would with a soccer ball. "It's totally different than kicking a soccer ball."

Trainor's fourth kick against Bow, however, split the uprights and since then he has gone a perfect 9-for-9 in PATs while missing his only field goal attempt, a 38-yarder. "It definitely gets easier with experience," he said. "I do wish I had started doing it before this year because I would be that much further along."

Along with that accuracy, Powers says it has been Trainor's work on kickoffs that has been even more of an asset for Pelham.

"He consistently puts it inside the 15 for us," said Powers. "Having teams start at their 20 or inside it is a big advantage."

On kickoffs Trainor's role is to hang back as a safety valve and be the last line of defense. So far the Pelham coverage team has not pressed him into duty, but chances are he'll eventually be tested. It's a scenario which begs one question: Slide or conventional tackle?

"I know how to tackle," said Trainor with a smile. "I've practiced it, but I haven't had to do it. I'll be ready."

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