Sometimes looks can be deceiving, especially for this Frankford High School senior.
Sometimes, looks can be deceiving.
Take Eddie Leak, for example.
Leak is a massive lineman on the Frankford High School football team, and guys who line up against him might not know this, but the soft-spoken giant wasn’t always a bruiser, because he didn’t like to hit people.
Let’s go back to his younger days when he was playing football for Moss playground. There, he once came off the field and was visibly upset because the other team was playing rough. He asked his coach for permission to hit harder, and once he got it, he became a top-flight lineman.
That’s exactly where he is now.
“I love football, I do whatever I can to play better,” said Leak, a 6-foot-3, 290-pounder who starts at offensive tackle and sees time on the defensive side.
“I love run blocking because you push the guy around and try to own the line of scrimmage. When I do that, and the rest of the line does it, it makes the running backs really happy.”
Leak makes everyone on the Pioneers happy, and he put in a lot of work to make sure he’s able to keep his guys smiling.
During the summer, Leak worked out with his uncle, a personal trainer.
Linemen are known for hitting the weights hard, but you’ll rarely hear one talking about all of the cardio they did. That’s where Leak is different.
“I worked out so hard, the first day I threw up,” said Leak, who is in his second year as a starter. “It got better after that, but it was because I got in shape. Conditioning is hard, but it’s really important for a lineman to be in shape. And I worked a lot on my footwork. That’s another thing linemen have to do. I worked out right after school (adjourned for summer) and all the way to camp. I can definitely feel the difference. I’m much better this year. The work paid off tremendously.”
As Leak goes, so do the Pioneers.
Last year, Frankford used a heavy passing attack, but this year the Pioneers are more balanced. It’s working.
Frankford is 5–2 on the season, and could easily be 6–1 had the Pioneers not fallen one yard shy of beating Bensalem on opening day. Since then, their only blemish was a loss to the defending Public League Class 5A champion Simon Gratz, which also knocked off Frankford last year in the title game.
On Friday, the Pioneers rolled over Kensington 35–0, which keeps them on the path to playing in their second straight Public League title game.
“We’re playing pretty good, but we’re trying to get better,” Leak said. “We have a really good team and really good coaches. I’m proud of where we are.”
Leak, who lives near Torresdale and Pratt, has many reasons to be proud.
The senior attends Sankofa Freedom Academy Charter School, is active in his church, the Baptist Worship Center, and he also volunteers helping kindergarten students at his school.
“I love working with them and they seem to have fun when I’m there,” said Leak, who is permitted to play at Frankford because Sankofa doesn’t have a football team. “I like them a lot, the little kids are really cool. I’m like an assistant to the teachers, but the biggest thing I do is just hang out with the kids and have fun with them. I love it.
“I try to be a nice person, in football and away from it. I think some of the kids were scared of me at first, but now that they know me, we’re friends. They don’t think I’m mean anymore because they know me.”
Now he’s hoping colleges get to know him.
In a perfect world, next year he’d attend Rutgers University and play football. But school comes first.
Because his strong suits are math and science, he hopes to major in architectural engineering. And if football can help him pay for college, all the better.
“Football is a mechanism to have fun and deal with everything,” said Leak, who throws the shot put in track. “I love playing the game. It’s such a passion of mine. I really want to play for as long as I can. It’s given me a lot, and I want to be able to do it next year and for as long as I can.”
He does have big plans before he leaves Frankford. And those plans involve a lot of accolades.
“I would love to be All-Public,” Leak said. “That would be a great honor. But more than that, I want to win a Public League championship.
“Winning a Public League championship would make all the hard work we all put in worth it. I love playing football, and winning when you’re playing is the best feeling.
“The entire team is working for that. It’s why we worked so hard in practice and so hard during the summer. We want it to pay off now.”••