MERRILLVILLE | For three years Matt O'Brien spent his Friday nights on the sidelines, mostly. He cheered for his Andrean teammates and did everything he could to help the program.
His dream of getting on the field slept until this autumn, the defensive back's senior season.
"Matt O'Brien is what Andrean football is all about," 59ers coach Phil Mason said. "We have a lot of kids like that. Great kids. Overachievers. Guys who never quit.
"He's a typical Andrean kid. He works hard and tries to find a way onto the field."
It isn't like the lad from Munster wasn't doing much else. He is the editor of Andrean's school newspaper, the Acropolis. Along with writing his own story on the field each Friday night, he writes two or three a month for the school's newspaper readers.
He is also No.1 in his class with a 4.6 GPA.
"It was something my older sister did and I always looked up to her," O'Brien said. "It's been fun, very interesting."
Last year he wrote a piece of Hoosier Hysteria and Andrean hoops star Nick Davidson gave him a quote he still remembers.
O'Brien's story goes like this. He was a quarterback as a freshman, but with Matt DeSomer in that spot another path had to be chosen. So he went to the defensive side of the ball.
Things were going well and then he injured a shoulder the week of the Munster game, so he couldn't play against his hometown buddies.
Many who didn't start until their senior year would've cashed in the chips and done something else with their time. But the 6-foot, 175-pounder did no such thing.
O'Brien has 57 tackles on the season, including a big stop at the 1-yard line last Friday against Jimtown on a fourth-and-goal.
"I love the game, I've always wanted to be a part of something special," O'Brien said. "I wanted to prove to myself and to other people I could do this."
Andrean (13-0) will host West Lafayette (12-1) tonight in the Class 3A Northern Semistate, with the winner advancing to the state championship on Nov. 29 at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"To get to Indy will take heart and passion," O'Brien said. "We have to stay focused on getting it done. How much do we want to get to state? There's not one guy on this team who hasn't dreamed about this."