Local student athlete participates in Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Atlanta

Sixteen-year-old Cal Cullinan has been starting for the Falcons for two seasons

Burlington Township High School varsity football player Cal Cullinan with his four-year-old brother Brady after a game. Cullinan was recently named Offense-Defense All-American.

While attending an Offense-Defense football camp this summer, Burlington Township High School junior Cal Cullinan was named an Offense-Defense All American and invited to participate in the 11th annual Offense-Defense Bowl Week festivities taking place at Fifth Third Bank Stadium at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta last week.

The Bowl Selection Committee selected Cullinan, an offensive guard for the Falcons, for this honor from a group of thousands of athletes across the country. Burlington Township Falcons head football coach Tom Madeira described Cullinan as an extremely hard worker and a very smart football player. Under Madeira’s leadership, the Falcons ended their 2016 season 9–2.

“[My coaches] have helped me so much,” Cullinan said. “They really do push you to your limits, which is important. They put you in situations that at times you want to quit but if you push through you’ll be successful. I really do love them for pushing me that far.”

Cullinan has been playing football since he was 9 years old but says he began to take the game more seriously his sophomore year of high school.

“I was so motivated and my dad introduced it to me more. I was also gifted an opportunity by my coach to play varsity,” Cullinan said, emphasizing how huge it is to play on varsity, especially at an early age.

Cullinan’s life revolves around football. During football season, his average day involves watching football videos on the way to school, talking to his friends about football throughout the school day, going to football practice after school, then watching film after practice.

Despite his dedication to the game, Cullinan is also a great student and is part of the National Honors Society.

“I feel academics are more important than football,” Cullinan said.

Cullinan added that over the years, he’s learned to use his time as efficiently as possible so he’s able to get his schoolwork done and still have time for football.

“It’s all about putting in the hard work, and that’s what got me there,” Cullinan said, adding he has a wonderful support team, including his family, coaches, friends and girlfriend.

“They really are the people that push me to my limits and make me the best person I can be,” he said.

Cullinan emphasized that one of his favorite things about playing football is the bond it has created with his dad.

“I’m proud of Cal for a lot of reasons. He’s a good blend of academic and sports … As a dad, it makes me proud,” Cal’s father Dave said. “Cal has never wanted to be an individual and have it be about him … He has always been one to talk about his teammates. He’s just proud to be a part of it.”

While Cullinan says he thinks he’ll be more of a leader on the team his senior year, his main goal is just to enjoy himself.

“I just want to go out there and have fun,” Cullinan said. “I really do enjoy football, and I just want to have a great season with my classmates one last time.”

In addition to the coaches, players and families, many college recruiters also attend the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. While Cullinan’s dream school is Notre Dame, he’s looking at various colleges and universities including Bridgewater State University and Amherst College in Massachusetts and Wingate University in North Carolina.

The Offense-Defense All-American Bowl is the culmination of a week of events. In addition to the All-American game, the week also includes an All-Star football game showcasing 88 of the top high school seniors in the country and has featured current NFL players such as Cam Newton and Dez Bryant.

Offense-Defense Sports has been running full-contact football instructional camps for 47 years and operates in approximately 80 camp locations nationwide. For more information, visit www.O-D.com.