Brad Thrasher, after four years of leading the Firelands Falcons on the football field, is readying himself for a new challenge at the United States Military Academy.
“It took a little bit of time to come to this decision,” said Thrasher. “Every day my dad would ask and I didn’t have an answer. I finally figured out that flying was of great interest to me. Whether that means flying with jets or helicopters I knew that I wanted to do something with flying. I’m excited to go somewhere different, somewhere where everyone is as competitive as me. It will be very different than what I’m used to but it will be an exciting new challenge.”
Thrasher was a four-year varsity letterman and three-time offensive player of the year for the Falcons. He was named to the All-Patriot Athletic Conference and Division IV first teams as a junior and was an honorable mention on the state team that season.
This past season, he was the leading rusher in all of Lorain County and set school records for career rushing touchdowns and single-season rushing yards. These accomplishments in 2015 led to Thrasher being named the Ohio Division IV Offensive MVP.
“Right now the goal is to try out to play football at Army,” he said. “Hopefully I will get a shot. With all of the stresses of the new experiences coming in, getting to play football out there would be a great escape. It will be a big adjustment going from Firelands to someone who has to fight for a roster spot. I feel like Firelands has prepared me for that kind of fight, though. We learned what it’s like to be on the bottom sometimes. I’m always willing to work hard. It feels normal to me. I’d rather have to work for something than have it handed to me.”
The new graduate never let his athletics stand in the way of his work in the classroom as he also received the conference’s Athletic Academic Honors Award as a senior.
“Everyone has been very supportive,” said Thrasher, “especially my family. They know how hard I’ve worked to get to this point. I’ve sacrificed time when friends have been having fun to study and prepare myself.”
Thrasher added that his interest in the military stemmed from an older brother who is working to become an Army nurse and a father who served in the Air Force. Environmental science is another passion of Thrasher’s, which he attributed to another sibling who has made a career working in nature.
“My oldest brother is an ornithologist and has worked with animals and the environment through his studies at Cornell University,” he said. “He has interned in Australia and Peru dealing with all sorts of animals. Biology always interested me in high school too. In order to get into flight school I have to be in the top 25 percent of my class. Flying a Blackhawk helicopter is my ultimate goal.”
Thrasher is not immune to the bittersweet feeling that comes with graduating high school and leaving familiar faces behind.
“Our last regular season game in 2015 was against Keystone, which we won to clinch a playoff spot,” he said. “Just to be out there with those guys felt amazing. We took a beating and went 0-10 in my sophomore season. To go from that to making the playoffs was a great accomplishment. I will miss those on-field moments, being in the weight room with my teammates every day after school. We formed a deep bond since fifth grade. I guess I will have to find new people at West Point to enjoy times like that with.”
Thrasher leaves for boot camp June 24.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Amherst News-Times After lighting up the field on Friday nights for the Falcons, Brad Thrasher is ready for a new challenge.