Latrobe's Daniel Calabrace receives Way to Play High School Award

Calabrace was recognized on NFL Network's Good Morning Football show

Wed Nov 09, 2022 - 7:34PM

Dan Flickinger Dan Flickinger
This play by Danny Calabrace was chosen by the NFL Network for demonstrating proper playing technique.This play by Danny Calabrace was chosen by the NFL Network for demonstrating proper playing technique.

Last Updated: Thu Nov 10, 2022 - 3:45PM

Many football players fantasize about executing the perfect play. Tossing a beautiful spiraling touchdown pass, barreling through tacklers on a long touchdown run or maybe a pick six. Those are just a few of the examples of what a skill position player may be daydreaming about.

But for Greater Latrobe senior lineman Daniel Calabrace, he typically imagines himself doing something a little different. In the Wildcats victory over Trinity on September 30th, Calabrace plowed through a double-team and made a perfect tackle of the opposing running back in the backfield.

That play was nominated through Hudl for the NFL Way to Play High School Award which is given weekly to a high school football player who demonstrates proper playing technique.

The panel thought highly enough of Calabrace’s technique to select it.

"I was really surprised and excited," Calabrace said when he found out. "I didn't even know. My girlfriends mom sent me a group text with the video of the announcement and then coach (Ron) Prady told me to come to his room in the morning."

The announcement came last Thursday morning on NFL Network's nationally televised Good Morning Football show where the play was shown and broken down by noted league analyst Brian Baldinger in his "Baldy Breakdowns" segment.

"I think my coaches picked that play to nominate because they were really excited when we watched it back on film," Calabrace explained. "I split the double-team, made a technique tackle, wrapped his legs and brought him to the ground. I showed all the right techniques."

Prady said he's admired Calabrace's play in the trenches this season.

"It's an award well deserved by Danny," Prady said proudly. "He plays hard every week and plays with great technique so it's nice to see him recognized for that."

While Calabrace was really excited to be recognized, he needed some help from Prady and another familiar face to understand who Baldinger, a former NFL offensive lineman, was.

"I didn't know who it was but coach Prady and (Superintendent) Mr. Porembka explained to me what he did in the league and how popular he is now."

In addition to recognition on the show, the NFL also allows the recipients football program to choose between either receiving $3,000 worth of equipment or a state-of-the-art virtual robotic tackling dummy from MVP Sprint.

The Wildcats elected for the robotic dummy which allows players to minimize wear-and-tear on their bodies by tackling the mobile dummy instead of each other. It's something many NFL teams have at their disposal but is a very rare sight at a high school practice.

But it will be rolling around Rossi Field next year.

"I told coach Prady I'm coming back in the summer and tackling it," Calabrace said laughingly. "He told me there would be a picture of my face on the robot."