/seasons/2012/contrib/20121010jxwp0n

Bench Press Brotherhood

More news about: Amherst

Bench Press Brotherhood

image

By Ben Badua

It was the only spat that they really remember having. Ironically enough, it occurred in the one place where they had bonded the most. Nearing the end of a set on the bench press with several teammates, Jack Reynolds '13 spotted a late-arriving John Ceccio '13. Can I work in with you guys? Before an agitated Reynolds could begrudgingly agree, Ceccio began replacing plates.

After a couple of repetitions, he once again turned to Reynolds. Let me do one more set. An increasingly annoyed Reynolds wasn't having it. They were almost done, he wanted out and the last thing they needed was another interruption. Instead of putting the weight clip back on the bar, a frustrated Ceccio dropped it and walked away. That's when all hell broke loose.

"I lost it," recalled Reynolds. "I just got in his face and started screaming. Everyone got out of our way."

With the two arguing offensive linemen weighing a combined 550 lbs., who could blame them? But despite the tension, emotions didn't run high for long. Ten minutes later, they were apologizing and laughing. Looking back, both acknowledge that it was the "dumbest fight of all time."

Ceccio and Reynolds. Reynolds and Ceccio. They're a package deal. Playing each other in high school, they knew of one another when they arrived on campus. Ceccio's St. Joseph Regional team beat Reynolds' Delbarton squad two years in a row in the New Jersey state playoffs (something Ceccio still teases Reynolds about).

With that connection, the two gravitated toward one another and began building the foundation for their friendship. They hang out together. They eat, live, play, and of course, work out together. You can't mention one without the other, and if you see one, you can almost always bet the other is either right behind or just around the corner.

"There's more hours in the day than not that I'm with John," said Reynolds. "My parents consider him another son and vice versa."

"I'm with Jack more than I am with my family," added Ceccio. "Even when we're home, we visit each other the whole time."

Offensive line coach Matt Ballard likens Ceccio and Reynolds to an old married couple, while head coach E.J. Mills thinks of them as "Frick and Frack." Spend any amount of time with the duo and it's easy to understand why. The rapport they've built is evident. The inside jokes are plentiful and the constant ribbing is effortless. While they may bicker from time to time, mostly they're just joking around and after endless hours spent together, they know exactly how to tug at each others' nerves.

While they're very similar, there are a few subtle differences. One claims to be slightly taller, the other, slightly slimmer. At times, Ceccio can be boisterous and loud, while Reynolds is a bit more understated. Both could be described as happy-go-lucky with a generally positive demeanor.

image

"I think we're known as the funny guys," said Reynolds. "We try to lighten up the mood, especially with the offensive line. It's a tough position, mentally and physically, and it's easy to get rattled. I think us constantly joking around gets everybody, including the coaches, laughing and helps keep us loose."

Despite their relatively cheery disposition off the field, don't expect them to be nearly as friendly between the lines. On gamedays, it's as if a switch has been flipped. They walk on the field and just want to hit someone. It's like they've blacked out and it's all that matters. The only adjectives that come to mind are mean, aggressive and focused.

"This is probably the most physical offensive line we've had in my nine years here," said Ballard. "A lot of it is because of those two guys. You can tell on the field that they get a kick out of smashing people."

A four-year starter, two-time All-NESCAC first team selection and 2012 D3 Senior Classic Preseason All-American, Ceccio is widely regarded as the league's preeminent center. Starting as a tackle before moving to left guard, Reynolds has solidified a line that has led the conference in fewest sacks allowed for four consecutive years, while bolstering a rushing attack that has gained more yards with each successive season.

In 2009, Amherst averaged just 79.1 rushing yards per game. The following year, their first starting on the line together, the team ranked fourth in the league with 173.6 yards. Last season the Jeffs finished second at 189.5 yards per outing and in 2012, the Purple & White have picked up 254.3 yards per game on the ground.

"John is by far the most physical player I've ever seen," said Reynolds. "He's an All-American for a reason. I've seen him take people, drive them back 15 yards and put them on their backs. Some of the most absurd things you shouldn't be able to do to another person, he has done."

"He's just as physical as I am," added Ceccio. "There are times in pass protection where I may just be hanging in there, but Jack is going over to de-cleat whomever. Even if no one is there, he'll find work and do his best to hit the person as hard as possible."

Always working as a team to cover blocking assignments, the offensive line is a particularly close-knit uint. Ceccio and Reynolds take it to another level, with their closeness off the field seamlessly translating to the gridiron. Playing right next to each other the past two years, it's no wonder they work so well in tandem: they don't even have to talk to each other to be on the same page. But when something does need to be said, it's a unique bond numbers 54 (Ceccio) and 55 (Reynolds) have been able to cultivate.

"When you get critiqued by someone you respect, it obviously means more," said Reynolds. "If John tells me something, I'm going to listen."

"If I miss a block, he's there to pick me up," Ceccio added. "If I'm doing something wrong and he gets on me, I'm okay with that."

image

While they have worked to make one another better during their time spent on the turf, it's their shared dedication off it that truly has brought them together. Arguably the two strongest players on the team, Ceccio and Reynolds double as each others' spotters during lifting sessions. They're the only people capable of doing so.  

Spending three months of the year together on the field, they'll spend the other nine training. Fostering a healthy competition, they've pushed and motivated each other like no one else on the team could. It's the reason they've become the athletes they are today and why they share such a mutual level of respect and admiration.

"Having John along for this whole ride means so much to me," explained Reynolds. "He's someone I can always share the memories with."

"When we're older, we'll still be best friends," said Ceccio. "We can look back and say, 'Hey, remember that day at practice or that game?'"

Now in their final season, the two are acutely aware that the clock is ticking. There are only so many practices and lifting sessions left. Mornings waking up the next dorm room over are numbered, as are the walks or drives together to Pratt Field.

This time next year, they won't be sitting next to each other in a locker room getting ready for another gameday. Instead, they'll hopefully be continuing a tradition of visiting teammate Lou Jacoubs' family home on the Cape, reminiscing about the good old days, while putting away endless amounts of food. Ceccio may playfully throw in a jab about Delbarton while feasting over the course of the weekend. Reynolds may remind his former teammate of his high school's superior academic reputation, while feeling like a skill position player watching his old line buddy eat.

Either way, while they may not want to think about it just yet, this chapter of their lives is almost over. Luckily, they know the next one is still being written and it's probably why that lone fight in the weight room didn't amount to much.

Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
Video Box Score
Final
Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
Video
Final
at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
Video Box Score
Final
SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
Video Box Score
Final
Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
Box Score
Final
Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Box Score Video
Final
at Albion 31, Alma 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
Box Score
Final
Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
Video Box Score
Final
at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
Video Box Score
Final
Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
Video
Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
Video Box Score
Final
Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
Box Score
Final
at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 50, Hope 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
Video Box Score
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
Video Video Box Score
Final
Tufts 21, at Williams 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
Video Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
Video
Final
Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
Video Box Score
Final
at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
Video Box Score
Final
Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
Video Box Score
Final
Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
Video Box Score
Final
Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
Video
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Loras 44, Coe 38
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
Video
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
Box Score
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
Box Score Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
Video Box Score Live stats Audio
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
Video Box Score
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Video Box Score
Final
Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
Video
Final
at Castleton 17, Dean 14
Video Box Score
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score
Final
Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
Video Box Score
Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 20: All times Eastern
Final
at Johns Hopkins 52, Gettysburg 0
Video Video Box Score Recap
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Box Score Video
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Video Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score