Reprinted with permission from the Times Union
KINDERHOOK – During his formative years as a football player, Haydon Broockmann wanted things to be difficult. A 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior tight end/defensive end at Ichabod Crane, Broockmann utilized a unique way to hone his skills as a pass-catcher involving his father and some bad quarterback play.
“We would call it ‘crappy quarterback day’ and my dad would throw me the worst passes possible and I would have to catch them,” Broockmann said. “I have been doing that for years.”
Practicing difficult situations has helped make him a formidable force on offense and college coaches have taken notice.
A four-year starter who has gained 70 pounds since his freshman season, Broockmann is garnering Division I interest as he prepares for his final scholastic season on the gridiron. The Riders, members of the Class B Reinfurt Division, opened their 2019 campaign Saturday, September 7.
Ichabod Crane finished 2-7 overall in 2018, including a 1-4 mark in divisional play, and missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year.
“I just want to win football games,” Broockmann said. “I am tired of winning one or two games each year.”
Despite the team’s difficulties, the sure-handed Broockmann has never made things about himself. Instead, he has managed to quietly excel. As a junior, Broockmann caught 36 passes for 697 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn Times Union small-school offense first-team plaudits. He also garnered a spot on the Class B state second team.
“We’re lucky that he is here. He is a great kid,” Ichabod Crane coach Tom Call said. “He is all about the team and is such a great leader. He never gets too high on the highs or too low on the lows. He is intense and 100 (percent) regardless of the situation. He is fully focused on the team and we are blessed to have him. He easily could have gone to a prep school, but he is a smalltown guy and just loves to work.”
“I just try to play my game to the best of my ability,” Broockmann said. “I have a great head coach who puts me in situations to make a play on the ball.”
Broockmann is easily one of the area’s elite players that few fans outside of Ichabod Crane know about.
He was invited to attend the Prospect NYS Power 50 Showcase and competed at the University of Connecticut football camp. He has also taken unofficial visits to Army, Marist, New Hampshire and the University at Albany.
And what helps set Broockmann apart even more is the way he goes about his business. Although it would be understandable for Broockmann to be discouraged or frustrated by the lack of team success, he plays the game the right way.
“I have tried to stay focused and lead the younger guys,” Broockmann said. “I guess it is just the love of the game, wanting to do your job to the best of your ability.”
“Last year, he got doubled a lot. He will again this year,” Call said. “The fact that he is still able to do what he can do with that is pretty impressive when you think about the recognition that he does get. I wish I had a full team of him. We have so many areas where we need to focus on that he probably doesn’t get enough individual attention. When he goes to college, he is going to get coached up and really excel.”
Broockmann made it clear he will not worry about where he will end up in college, where he intends to major in communications, until the conclusion of his senior season with the Riders.
“I have always wanted to play at the next level and put the work in during the offseason to improve,” Broockmann said. “After my sophomore year, I realized I could take this to another level. Right now, I just want to play in a sectional game — win or lose. That is all I want: to win games and get to sectionals.”
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