Published: January 3, 2013
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A year ago, Abington Heights football player Jerry Langan started to prepare for his senior season, anxious to erase the fresh memories of a disappointing 3-7 record the Comets compiled in 2011.
The linebacker set his mind to doing all he could to help the Comets get back to the top of Division I in the Lackawanna Football Conference. He figured if he and his teammates worked harder, sweated a little more in the offseason, they might be able to achieve that goal.
As it turned out, the Comets did accomplish quite a bit, restoring the pride of the program by going 10-3, winning the District 2 Class AAA title and finishing third in the division, behind Class AAAA powers Scranton and Delaware Valley.
Langan, one of the driving forces on the resurgence of the team, got some recognition he didn't expect.
For his efforts during the season, Langan was selected to the Pennsylvania Sports Writers all-state team in Class AAA, the only District 2 player picked for the 33-player group by a panel of writers.
"I was shocked. I had never really thought about it," Langan said. "It didn't even cross my mind. I was more worried about winning."
The Comets won, with crucial victories over Valley View and Berwick in the playoffs, and regular-season triumphs over the likes of Scranton Prep and Valley View.
Despite his individual success, Langan looked back at fitting in with his teammates as being the key ingredient for his honor.
"I just wanted to do my job, and play the scheme correctly," Langan said. "I was part of an unselfish defense. The defensive line was phenomenal."
As an outside linebacker, Langan was there to fill gaps and close off holes where necessary. He made 161 tackles, including 116 solo, had 5½ sacks and returned an interception for a touchdown.
While his statistics are impressive, it's the eight regular-season wins that Langan felt helped him gain his individual recognition.
"It's a team defense, not just one player," Langan said. "Nobody knew who I was [last year]. When you're not winning, people aren't paying attention."
People paid attention to the Comets this time around as they opened the year with eight wins in their first nine games, seeing Langan moving around the field, making play after play.
But for all the tackles and plays he made over the course of the season, the play Langan will remember about the year was one in which he didn't play a major role, showing just how unselfish a player the senior was.
"The best play was the last [defensive play] at Berwick," Langan said. "We were in coverage, and (the quarterback) dropped back. J.C. Show batted down the ball on the fourth-and-20 play. We led by nine (44-35), so after taking a couple of knees [downs], we were able to get happy about going from a 3-7 team to district champions.
"It was probably the best win I went through, to beat [Berwick coach] George Curry in his first year back, and to be able to do it at Crispin Field, with all the hype," Langan continued. "It was jammed and they were booing us, so it was us against the world. We played hard, and we played for each other. We made big plays when we needed to."