University City

He's keeping up with the family tradition

After a last-minute field goal sailed between the uprights, Mallard Creek's season was over.

Vance had defeated the Mavericks 10-7 and handed them their first loss, a disappointing finish to a 13-1 season at one time destined for greatness.

"After they made that field goal, I knew it was the last game I would ever play for Mallard Creek," said Maverick senior captain Brent Spisak, who three weeks earlier had committed to play college football.

"I knew it was over, but it didn't really hit me until fourth period the following Monday. I was sitting in class thinking I have to go get my pads from my car and rush to practice.

"That's when it hit me that it was over. I didn't know what to do."

Spisak is the Mavericks' only four-year starter in the school's history. He will get a chance to continue his football career next year, something many of his teammates will not.

His football skills have given him the chance to play in college; his work in the classroom has afforded him the chance to play at an Ivy League school.

Following in the footsteps of Alex, one of the four Spisak brothers, Brent will continue his athletic and academic career at Harvard. Alex was the starting center for the Crimson for two seasons.

Brent is carrying on the Spisak legacy and tradition. The Spisaks have a famous uncle - former NFL player and Detroit Lion President and CEO Matt Millen - but are making names for themselves.

Alex started for two years at Harvard. Daniel, a rising senior at Furman, is the Paladins' starting center and a double major in political science and religion. Andrew was a three-sport athlete and attended the University of Virginia.

On the field, Brent has the advantage.

"One thing that I can hold above Daniel and Alex's head is they were All-Conference their junior and senior years," said Brent. "I was fortunate enough to make it the last three years. They can beat me up, but I was All-Conference for three years."

Brent, at 6-feet-2 and 220 pounds, is imposing enough on the field; in the classroom, he may be even more so.

Spisak has a 4.1 GPA and is a member of the National Honor Society. In college he plans to study history or government. If being a long snapper in the NFL doesn't work out, he would like to be a Marine or perhaps work for the Secret Service.

Spisak generously lends his time to many extra curricular activities, including Coaches vs. Cancer, a Veteran's Day project he helped organize, and volunteering at Devonshire Elementary School and a juvenile diabetes event.

He is most proud, however, of the Sept. 11 tribute he helped organize to honor local police and firefighters.

"The 9-11 tribute was my favorite thing to do," said Spisak. "I have a cousin who is an Army Ranger in Afghanistan, and one of my brother's fiancé is in the Marines. That really hit home to me and meant a lot to be part of.

"Getting involved is easy, and there are so many great organizations. It is very important for me to give back.

"I have been blessed to be a pretty good athlete and a relatively smart individual, so giving back is very high on my list. I am very fortunate to be where I am and love giving back to anything that represents a good cause."

Spisak, who hopes to contribute on special teams as a long snapper right away at Harvard, also thinks there is a good chance he can be a rotation player at defensive end.

Last year he recorded 45 tackles and nine sacks on defense. As a tight end, he caught 34 passes for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"It is really fun to play offense and be able to score the ball," said Spisak. "Offense is fun, but the best part of football is hitting someone, so defensive end is the best position for me."

Spisak rarely came off the field as a player, and his accomplishments were recognized. The Carolina Panthers named him the Community Captain in 2010. He was a three-time all I-Meck 4A performer.

"The awards are great to win and it is always good to know people are watching," said Spisak. "A lot of it is the guys I was able to play with, too. If you are not surrounded by good players, you may not be in the position to make the plays. I was fortunate."

Spisak is looking forward to going to Harvard and knows he can handle the transition easily. "Going to a school like Harvard, I cannot slack off," said Spisak. "I can do both and think the football and schoolwork will go hand in hand. It is about managing time and making good choices."