Pinkerton Astros Football '07

Pinkerton's Mike Crupi (No. 49) drives his way through the Londonderry defense during the game with host Londonderry. » Jarrod Thompson, Staff Photographer

Pinkerton's Crupi has overcome scary spleen injury

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Friday, October, 12 By Hector Longo
Staff writer

For Pinkerton Academy senior Mike Crupi, anything after the Mack Plaque weekend is gravy, even tomorrow afternoon's battle of the behemoths with the Astros, tops in New Hampshire, hosting Brockton High, which is ranked third in Eastern Mass. in one poll.

Crupi, a middle linebacker and fullback, is getting his first shot at the Boxers. Last year, his season ended in the first quarter against Londonderry when a dive into the end zone forced an ambulance ride to the hospital.

Capping off his 50-yard run against the Lancers, Crupi dove for the goal line and landed hard, rupturing his spleen. His season over, doctors removed the spleen, which helps prevent infections in the human body.

"The worst part about it was I lost a lot of weight and a lot of strength because of it," said the 5-foot-9, 190-pound battering ram, who bench-presses 315 pounds and squats 400. "As soon as I was able to, I got back into the gym and hit the weights again."

Crupi and the Astros are again ready to defend the Granite State's honor.

So far, Everett clubbed West, 50-21, and Salem was beaten last week by Xaverian of Westwood, 24-20. Also, Foxboro dropped Concord, 17-3.

"We know this is the game everybody always looks at between the two states," said Crupi.

Despite a busy week of practice, Crupi allowed Football Friday inside his world for a moment.

Here's what the bruiser from Derry had to say:

So no spleen, are you OK? And what is different about your life?

"I'm fine. Not much is different. I take penicillin once a day. And I have to watch out for infections and stuff, be careful with cuts and scrapes."

What was the first thing you asked about when you came out of surgery?

"Believe it or not my T-shirt that I was wearing under my pads."

What's so special about the shirt?

"It's lucky. I wore it in the first game I started in seventh grade. I scored two TDs and had a bunch of tackles. I've worn it every game since. My grandmother actually had to sew it back together after they cut it off for my surgery. There's not much left to it now, but I've worn it for every game since. Everyone on the team knows about it, and they ask about it all the time."

Coach (Brian) O'Reilly came to your defense when the officials in the Nashua North game said you fumbled at the goal line. Why did he fight for you so hard?

"Really I have not fumbled since sixth grade. I was down, the other team knew it. I was just laying on the ground, waiting for the pile to clear and they just grabbed it from me. The play got to me. I don't fumble. At halftime, we had a big lead, but I couldn't stop thinking about that play. I played great, except for that, and I couldn't get it out of my head. I haven't fumbled since, either."

You're only 5-foot-9, can you play ball in college?

"I'm open to any school that will just give me a chance."

Who's your favorite opponent?

"This year, definitely Londonderry. After the game I had, leaving in the first quarter last year, I wanted revenge. They felt like they couldn't be stopped, and we beat them. It was great."

Where's your favorite place to play?

"The (artificial) turf fields are nice, but I like playing at home. There's nothing better than Saturday afternoons on our field."

Favorite Astro of all time? "Matt Jordan. I was real, real young, but you hear stories and read about him. He's a legend around here."

And what's your favorite meal in Derry? "I'd go with the steak and cheese subs from USA Subs."

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