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Wideout Belcik major part of Girard’s prolific offense

By BOB ETTINGER

sports@vindy.com

GIRARD

Michael Belcik understands his senior season with the Girard football team has put him in rare company. It isn’t strictly those numbers, though, that he wants to leave as his legacy.

“From a young age, my parents pushed me,” Belcik said. “Sometimes I was playing four sports. I was doing everything I could to stay active. I love football. Being an icon at Girard means the world to me. Everyone respects me for what I do on the field. I love Girard. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

Belcik showed up in the first round of the playoffs when he caught 14 passes for 168 yards and three touchdown receptions.

Belcik and the Indians (10-1) have advanced to the Division IV, Region 13 regional semifinal where Perry awaits for a clash tonight (7:30) at Twinsburg High School.

“I’m so excited,” Belcik said. “I love playoff football. It’s so amazing. I love playing football with my family. And I’m so close to everyone on the team, they’re like my family. I wouldn’t want to play with anybody else.”

It’s Belcik’s character that has kids in his community looking up to him.

“The modern athlete is more me-oriented,” Girard coach Pat Pearson said. “They’re selfish when they’re an all-star like Mike. He never tells us to throw him the ball. He’s a team-first player. When I call my two younger sons over and ask them who their favorite player is, they say Michael Belcik. It’s nice to have a kid like him and have your kids be able to look up to him.”

And Belcik likes being a role model for the young players in his community.

“If I’m on the side during practice, I’ll throw them a ball and tell them to see if they can make a catch like me. I like to motivate them. They’re going to be Girard Indians one day. Hearing they want to be like me means the world to me. I’ll probably come back and coach Coach Pearson’s sons one day. It really does mean the world to me.”

In order to be in position to be a role model, Belcik has had to perform on Friday nights. He’s done exactly that in amassing 16 touchdowns and 1,350 yards on 70 receptions.

“I hate saying this, but last year I was so close to 1,000 yards,” Belcik said. “I think the record at Girard is something like 2,600. My friends would yell at me at the beginning of the year and say I was going to get it. I just try and improve every single day at practice. I’ve achieved a lot here at Girard. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll go down in Girard history.”

Securing his place in Girard football history is probably a foregone conclusion. He’ll be on in the record books alongside his best friend, quarterback Mark Waid, who has put up big numbers as well and made sure to credit his teammates along the way.

“He’s a heck of a guy,” Belcik said of Waid. “He’s a great guy on and off the field. He’s a brother to me. I love having him as my quarterback. Every time I talk about my personal goals, I have to thank Marky.”

It’s that bond that has the two, and the Indians, competing for a berth in the regional championship game.

“Those two have put in so much time together over the last two years,” Pearson said. “Mark not only knows Michael will catch the ball, but he’ll make something happen when he has the ball in his hands.”

Waid trusts Belcik because he knows the approach Belcik takes every day on the practice field.

“I try to perfect my craft every day in practice,” Belcik said. “As a freshman, I was fast and people said I was only a deep receiver. As a senior, I’ve tried to focus on my route running, screen passes, being a possession receiver, being a deep threat and returning punts. Mark and I are best friends on and off the field and that helps on the field.”



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