ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: North Pocono’s JC Gaughan

October 23, 2017 GMT

North Pocono’s JC Gaughan ran for 217 yards and five touchdowns — four in the second half — as the Trojans rallied in for a 42-28 win over Honesdale.

Age: 17

Other sports you play: I ran track last year and my sophomore and freshman year I played lacrosse.

What does JC stand for? James Cawley. Cawley is my mom’s maiden name.

Athletes you admire: Luke Kuechly and Jamal Adams.

Teams you follow: My dad’s alma mater, I follow Syracuse. In the NFL I just pick a team that day and root for them. I also like to watch LSU and Clemson because I like how their secondary plays.

Three people you’d like to have dinner with. Two of my favorite athletes, Jamal Adams and Luke Kuechly, and Ray Lewis. He was one of the best linebackers ever.

Any game day rituals or superstitions? After school, I always go home and take at least a half hour nap. It takes me out of school mode and puts me in football mode. And before the game or on the way to a game, I eat a 6-inch Italian hoagie.

How did you get your start in football? My dad played, all my uncles have played and they’ve been pretty good at it. I feel like I’ve been surrounded by it my whole life. My mom actually wouldn’t let me play until seventh grade.

You play linebacker and running back. Which do you prefer? Definitely linebacker. I like giving the hits instead of receiving them.

Could you have anticipated this kind of success? Even after a terrific junior year, you can’t take anything for granted. I expected myself to be a leader by example and to be a vocal leader. I expected myself to make plays that are presented in front of me.

Best lesson you’ve learned through sports. Definitely to work hard and never, never give up on something you’ve started. Always finish.

As we near the end of the season, are you guys focused on trying to make it back-to-back district titles? That’s definitely the mindset now, heading into our last game and then playoffs. We’re definitely striving for that.

What player is the most improved on your team this season? Definitely Joe Ianni. He’s our middle linebacker. He went from last year playing special teams and in certain sets to now being a full-time starter on offense, defense and most special teams. He’s leading the team in tackles and against Valley View, he had 19 tackles. For him to come from where he was last year to where he is today, it’s remarkable.

One athlete from another team you’d like to add to your roster. I’d pick Andre Chollette Jr. We’ve been friends for a while and he’s arguably one of the best running backs in the conference and in northeast Pennsylvania. Him on our team would definitely be awesome.