Athlete Spotlight: Bryce Gallagher ‘19 - St. Sebastian’s (Football)
NEEDHAM, Mass. – If you attended a football game at St. Sebastian’s in 2016 and saw Bryce Gallagher '19 flying around, making plays at both linebacker and running back, you might wonder: Where did he learn how to do that?
Then you may scan the roster, notice the name Blake Gallagher at linebacker as well, infer that they are brothers, and make sense of it all.
Bryce Gallagher, one of the top ranked prospects in Massachusetts in the Class of 2019, is the third in a line of accomplished gridiron stars amongst his siblings, who all hail from Raynham, Mass.
His eldest brother, Brandon, starred at Bridgewater-Raynham and is currently contributing as a running back at the University of New Hampshire.
Bryce said he learned a great deal from Brandon growing up, but the proximity of age and closeness to brother Blake helped influence Bryce's football and scholastic decisions. Blake, after enrolling at St. Sebastian’s, quickly convinced Bryce to transfer ahead of his eighth-grade season.
“When Bryce came here as an eighth grader, he was probably ready to play varsity,” said St. Sebastian’s head coach Robert Souza. “He wasn’t quite as big [as Blake]. He was a different type of athlete, but he was every bit as tenacious and competitive on both sides of the ball.”
Growing up with two incredibly athletic, tough-minded brothers, Bryce recalls how front-yard football games with the neighborhood kids often ended in fistfights, which partially explains his tenacity at the high school level.
“Front-yard football would get pretty competitive and usually lead into a fight,” Bryce said. “That definitely helped with toughness and learning how to get knocked down but get right back up and keep going.”
He continued, “Brandon was even harder on me than Blake. It was kind of a good cop/bad cop situation, Brandon wasn’t afraid to tell me what I was doing wrong and he was always trying to toughen me up. Both brothers were just always focused on me getting better and never slacking off.”
All three Gallagher brothers starred at the Pop Warner level down in Raynham, but Bryce admittedly lacked confidence when he first got to high school.
While he was a freshman at Seb's, Bryce was ostensibly nervous ahead of the Arrows' first scrimmage against Needham in 2015. His older brother sensed that and took him aside to give him some simplistic and effective advice.
“[Blake] told me, it’s just football, just do what you do. Go out there and react and make plays,” recalled Bryce.
Sure enough, the freshman made plays in that scrimmage and starred alongside his older brother throughout the season, finishing with 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns as a running back with 45 tackles and two interceptions as a linebacker in 2015.
Blake carried the load that season with 341 rushing yards, four touchdowns and captained the defense with 67 tackles and five fumbles forced or recovered, teaching his younger brother a lot about the game in the process.
“[The coaches] joked that [Blake] was a good teammate and good to everyone but his younger brother,” Souza recalled. “He was really hard on Bryce if he missed a block or jumped offsides, Blake would get on him pretty good. It was an interesting dynamic.”
Despite the tough love, playing with Blake was such a dream come true for Bryce that he recently committed to join his brother at Northwestern University.
“[Blake] was a big factor in my decision to come [to St. Sebastian’s] and it was a great experience getting to play alongside him,” Bryce confirmed. “He kept me on the right track and I hope to play with him again [at Northwestern].”
After learning under his brothers’ wing as a freshman, Bryce spread his own wings in 2016, compiling 58 tackles during an impressive sophomore campaign (highlights below).
St. Sebastian’s (1-4) is battling the rigors, in the always strong Independent School League, this season, and Bryce is unfortunately watching from the sidelines with a broken foot.
“[Bryce] is one of the top kids we’ve had in my time here on both sides of the ball,” said Souza. “He brings a lot of intensity, toughness and leadership to the team and the team immediately becomes more competitive when he’s on the field. It’s a significant loss not having him on the field, but he can still see things on the field and talk to the other kids. He played quicker because he’s able to anticipate things and he really has a great football IQ.”
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound outside linebacker is still trying to make an impact as a liaison for the coaching staff and said he often gives the younger defenders the same advice he got from his older brother, “Don’t overthink it, just go out there and make plays.”
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