For Father Judge senior Mike Trask, family and football mean everything.
You only have to look at Mike Trask’s right arm to find out how much his family means to him.
He has one tattoo on the arm of St. Michael, the patron saint of police officers.
He has another tattoo of a cross in memory of his sister Jackie, who passed away three years ago.
And he has a third tattoo with the scripture verse, “I am my brother’s keeper,” which he proudly wears in honor of his younger brother, Luke.
“He had a drowning incident in our pool behind our house,” said Trask, a senior at Father Judge High School. “He didn’t die, but he had some brain damage from it. He can’t walk or talk, so I do what I can, carry him around and take care of him.
“It was really hard. I was at my friend’s house when it happened. I have three sisters, but he was my brother. He was my guy. It was hard to go through it, but he’s doing better. He still can’t walk or talk, but we’ll talk to him and he’ll laugh.
“He’s getting better. We’re hoping for a miracle. But he recognizes us and knows who we all are, so he’s doing good.”
Trask is big and strong, and that’s why he is able to take care of his brother. That strength is also what makes him such a valuable member of the Judge football team.
Trask is a two-way starter, playing both offensive guard and linebacker. It’s his second year as a starter on the line, and while he mixed in on defense at times, this is the first year he was penciled in as a starter.
Both positions are demanding. On defense, he has to chase down lightning-fast ball carriers while fighting off massive linemen from other Catholic League foes. And on offense, he’s responsible for helping quarterback Shane Dooley stay upright while opening up lanes for part-time running back, part-time wide receiver Katob Joseph.
“They’re both great football players and they deserve to be captains because they’re our leaders,” Trask said. “They do a great job, we just try and get out there and help them out any way we can.”
And while Dooley and Joseph are leading the team, Trask is trying to be one of the leaders along the offensive line.
The Crusaders usually have their hands full in divisional play because they line up against the top teams in the city just about every week. Last year, the line was very raw with just one senior, Dan Adams. This year, the players in the trenches are once again young, with two underclassmen starters, but Trask is a senior with experience. He’s doing his best to share what he knows to make everyone better.
“I learned a lot by playing last year,” Trask said. “Dan Adams helped me a lot. He helped all of us. He helped us learn the plays, he helped us block. He was a really good leader and I’m trying to do some of the things he did. I learned from him.”
Trask is also doing a fine job providing blocking for Dooley and the rest of the offense.
Judge has become a well-rounded offense, finding success on both the ground and through the air. That makes the Crusaders tougher to stop, and that makes it more fun for Trask and the grunts.
“I like pass blocking, I think we’re getting better at it,” Trask said. “We’re doing pretty good at both, but we can get a lot better. If we give (Dooley) time, he’ll do great. And we’re pretty good at run blocking, but we can do better there, too.”
Trask hopes his Crusaders continue to improve, and they’re at the top of their game when the postseason rolls around. Judge is in the playoffs already because all four of the teams in the Catholic League AAAAAA Division make the postseason. In PCL play following the Crusaders’ 21–7 triumph over Roman Catholic, Judge sits at 1–2. This week they travel to Widener on Saturday night to play St. Joe’s Prep.
When the season comes to an end, there’s a good chance Trask’s football will be over. The Somerton resident has played since he was 4 years old, but there’s a good chance he will be too busy to play football next year.
“I’m not sure what I want to do, but I think I want to go to the Army,” Trask said. “I like it because you’re helping people, and it’s good discipline. I think I’d also like to be a cop. I can’t go into the Marines because of my tattoos, but I’d like to do something like that.
“If the chance pops up to play college football, I would like to do that, too. I’m just going to wait until after the season and then figure things out. There’s a lot of things I would like to do.”
No matter what he does, he plans on leaving it all on the field at Judge.
He’s not too happy about his team’s record (1–5 overall, 0–2 Red Division), but he’s happy that the team is working hard and getting better every day. And he’s also happy that when he’s not playing football, he has a great family to help support him.
And he only has to look at his arm to realize how lucky he is.
“We’re really close, it’s always been that way,” Trask said. “I think it helps us a lot.
“I spend a lot of time with all of them, but Luke is my guy. He doesn’t get to a lot of games because it’s going to be cold soon and we don’t want him out there, but he’s been to a few and I love seeing him there. I love him.”