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Colin McCabe is off to an outstanding start to his senior season as the featured running back for the Hand football squad. (Photo courtesy of Cathy McCabe )
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Colin McCabe has grown right along with the football program at Daniel Hand High School. As the Tigers have racked up the wins during the past few years, Colin’s constant work in the weight room helped him bulk up from 180 pounds to 195 pounds between his sophomore and senior seasons. Now a senior, Colin has taken over as the Tigers’ top running back this fall.
Colin is off and running again on the heels of a 2018 campaign that saw him rush for 1,364 yards and score 33 touchdowns, while helping Hand claim its second-consecutive Class L state title. In the Tigers’ two victories this year, Colin has already run for 478 yards to go with seven total TDs and recently set the school record for the most career rushing touchdowns. Colin and company are currently riding a 26-game win streak that spans the past three seasons.
“The great thing about Colin is he’s entirely self-made,” Head Coach Dave Mastroianni says. “We were never sure just how good he was going to be, because he was much smaller and didn’t play that much as a sophomore. Well, we’ve found out now.”
Through sheer hard work, Colin earned himself a spot in the Tigers’ starting lineup as a junior last year. Hand put together an undefeated season that culminated with a 54-14 victory versus Maloney in the championship game of the Class L State Playoffs.
“We constantly talk about culture in Madison when it comes to football. And for the most part, it’s been a winning culture,” says Colin. “The program was down one year [in 2016]. Our group of guys have decided that we never want to have another season like that.”
Colin is motivated to help the Tigers as they strive for a third-straight state crown. He loves working in the same offense as senior quarterback Phoenix Billings. When Hand routed Notre Dame 49-14 in its season opener, Colin caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Billings, in addition to rushing for a pair of scores. Last week, Colin ran for four touchdowns and broke the record for the most rushing TDs in the history of the program. He has 41 and counting for his career.
“I like running screens out of our spread offense,” Colin says. “I’ve been able to catch the ball either short or long and then use my running to advance from there.”
Colin moved from Manassas, Virginia to Madison with his parents, Cathy and Brian, just prior to starting the 7th grade. It didn’t take long for Colin to get involved with Madison Youth Football and learn about the rich history of the high school program.
“The atmosphere on game nights at the Surf Club is unbelievable. It was crazy for our opening game with Notre Dame,” Colin says. “It’s easy to get pumped up. We came off the bus, and we were ready to play. We jumped on them right away and continued it throughout the game.”
Colin has also expanded his athletic skills by throwing the shot put and running sprints as a member of the Hand track program.
“Football is still my primary focus,” says Colin. “I do love track. My legs were a little tired last spring, so I stayed with the shot.”
Colin would like to play football in college, where he plans on pursuing a degree in business. Coach Mastroianni thinks that Colin has the skill set to become a productive running back at the next level.
“Colin could certainly play on the Division II level and at some DI schools,” says Mastroianni. “With his size and strength, he has already become a physical mismatch for many defenders in one-on-one situations.”
Right now, though, Colin is focused on playing an integral role on a squad that has its sights set on winning another state championship. Colin knows that the Tigers can’t take opponent lightly, because they always have the bull’s-eye on their back.
“It always sits in the back of our minds. Our team has a lot to live up to,” Colin says. “We all know about the past successes, but Coach Mastroianni puts it in perspective. We never look too far down the road. We have this week to worry about. We’ll take care of what’s down the road when we get to it.”
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