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Football: Defensive end Busic 'tremendous leader' for Owls

Pat Stoetzer
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

Jacob Busic played running back and linebacker in his recreational football days, and when he arrived at Westminster High School four years ago the coaching staff was faced with somewhat of a crossroad.

The Owls liked what they saw from Busic, but were unsure about where the young man should play. Unless you ask Matt Study, who said he knew from the start.

“It was very difficult for a little bit to get Jake to say … ‘Look, you’re very athletic. But you’re not a running back,’” Study said. “‘You’re 6-foot-whatever, you’re growing like a weed, and you’re getting huge.’ Jake bought into that real early.

“And that’s why he’s in the situation that he’s in.”

The situation, for Busic, is this — he’s one of Westminster’s standout defensive ends after becoming one of the most feared pass rushers around.

When Westminster (5-1, 3-0 in the county) heads into Friday’s anticipated matchup with unbeaten Liberty (6-0, 2-0), the Owls will boast one of the top tacklers in the county in Busic. And that’s after the 6-foot-4, 250-pound senior worked hard to change positions and heed his coaches’ advice, Study said.

“I’ve never had an issue with Jake in the classroom … he has already bought into that piece,” the coach said. “He’s an incredible student. I don’t worry about what he’s doing … I don’t worry about his character. He’ a tremendous leader.”

Busic possessed those traits at an early age, Study said, but needed a little time to adjust after shedding his running back/linebacker lifestyle. Busic said he first showed signs as a sophomore, when he came up from junior varsity and wound up playing on the line midway through the season because some regulars were out sick.

“They threw me in there as a scout look on the scout team,” Busic said. “I impressed them, and we just went from there. … At some point then they realized that I was meant to be on the D-line.”

Busic had 49 tackles and a team-high seven sacks last fall en route to a Times all-county first-team selection, and said he got by with using just the basics. Busic said he made a point to participate in several football camps and combines in the offseason so he could learn about new techniques and form.

The clinics gave Busic a better understanding of his new position, he said, and he took more opportunities to zone in on linemen — college or professional — and mimic their style whenever he watched games on TV.

“I’ve grown so much, just watching the game more and playing the game more,” Busic said. “I understand more about it. Mentally, it just flows easier for me. I’ve slowed the game a lot in my mind. I know where I’ve got to be and what I’ve got to do.”

“At Westminster, we have one goal and that’s to win,” Busic said. “And especially with all the talent that we have on our team this year, our one goal is to win a state championship. And we’re not looking past anybody, but we know that at the end of the day that if we don’t win states then it’s a failed season.

Busic’s 36 tackles are second most on Westminster’s defense this fall, and he has already equaled last year’s sack total of seven. The Owls have 13 sacks as a unit.

Busic also has a forced fumble.

Study praised Busic for helping the team by playing on the offensive line as well, and the coach said Westminster even toyed with the idea of using Busic as a tight end because of his pass-catching acumen.

The flexibility is just another piece to Busic’s game that attracted Study — and college suitors.

Army has been in touch with the Owls, Study said, with heavy interest in Busic. And Westminster’s coach said he has no doubt Busic would fit right in at West Point.

That’s a future, however, that isn’t in focus just yet for Busic. The senior wants to make the most of his final few weeks of high school football.

“We love to just go out there and have fun, because football is a fun game. And winning is also fun.”


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