Joppatowne senior Josh Albowicz doesn't let the fact that he's undersized (5 feet 9, 180 pounds) for an offensive lineman deter him from thriving at left guard. He also plays linebacker for the Mariners and is developing into a leader on a young team. This is his second year on the varsity, and Albowicz also wrestles and plays baseball at Joppatowne. His father is a member of the National Guard and recently went to Afghanistan for a nine-month tour of duty after serving a year in Iraq. Albowicz is hoping to work in the medical field and is looking at schools such as Maryland, Loyola and Old Dominion for next year.
What's your favorite sport to play?
I like football the most, because I get to hit people and all that. I like the competition. It's intense. It's just a great sport and I love it.
Are you a big Ravens fan?
No. I'm a Broncos fan. My stepdad guided me into it. He's from Denver. I just started watching the Broncos when I was little and it just grew on me. I would say that John Lynch and John Elway are my favorite Broncos.
Have you ever been to a game in Denver?
I'm going to a game out there in December. My whole family is going out there. We've got family out there, so I'm going with my stepdad, my mom, my three little brothers and my little sister. I think just my stepdad and I are going to watch the Broncos play the Chargers on Dec. 24. I've never been to a football game before. This will be my first.
What's been the best part about playing for Joppatowne?
Well, Joppatowne has been a good team for the past few years. State champion in 2003, they were state runner-ups in 2004 and made the playoffs the other two years, so it's always good competition. I learned a lot about football, about just going out and playing your hardest and always having that mentality when you're out on the field. I was a second-string linebacker last year and now it is my time to step up.
What does your dad do overseas?
He's a helicopter crew chief in the National Guard. He'll be in Afghanistan for nine months; he went over about a month ago. I've [been through] it before. He went to Iraq for a year in 2002, I think. I know he's going to be safe and all that. I guess it's just trust in God and all that. Sometimes I worry about it. He seemed more vulnerable the last time he went to Iraq, but I know his job is safer this time. Online we have a camera and we can see each other and talk every day. So that's good. Last time, when he was in Iraq, I'd only get a call from him every three weeks.
How difficult was it to concentrate when you took your dad to the airport for his trip and then came back to practice that same day?
It was hard. But he said, "Don't worry about it. Just look out for your brother." He's in high school this year. My dad just told me to play my hardest in sports. So that what's I'm doing.
Is there more pressure for you in football because it's your senior year?
I wouldn't say it's more pressure. I would say there's a lot more responsibility. I'm becoming a leader for the defense. I enjoy it. My coaches consider me as a role model - just doing the right things, trying my hardest and giving 110 percent on each play. That's what I try to do.
How good is your team this season?
I would say about the same as last year [the Mariners went 8-3 in 2006]. We don't have some of the players we had last year, but we still have a lot of good people. We're kind of like a family. Every player has a connection to one another. That makes us closer. We played North Carroll the other week and lost, but they never stopped us. We never got intimidated, but we just stopped ourselves with turnovers. We just hurt ourselves.
What do you like to do away from football?
On Sundays in the fall, I play baseball for Rosedale. I go to church. This week I'm taking SAT prep courses and just spending time with my family.
What's in your iPod?
Mainly rock and rap. I listen to rock mainly to pump me up before games. I like music with a lot of screaming before games. I listen until we're about to go on to the field. A little Monster energy drink and some screaming music and you're set.
If there was one person in the world you could meet and spend an hour with, whom would you pick?
I would pick Georges St. Pierre. He's an Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter. He always has a great mind-set. He's so determined. He's just a monster out in the ring; no one can beat him. Just to have that determination and that goal set in your mind is great.