Photo courtesy Tim Davis
Sean Duffy might be a control freak – but in a good way.
The West Anchorage senior commands the field as a pitcher in baseball and quarterback in football.
“How you execute impacts the entire game,” Duffy told me. “You can’t buckle under pressure. You have to keep your cool.”
The 6-foot-4 lefty is unflappable in tense situations because he is quick to make a joke in an attempt to lighten the moment.
“Goofball with laser focus,” West coach Tim Davis told me. “I think his sense of humor is perfect in a sport like football. Not too high not too low and receptive to instruction but has the knowledge that he has to get the job done.”
Duffy didn’t have his best performance in the season opener but played well enough as the Eagles beat West Valley 45-15 in Fairbanks.
He accounted for 134 total yards and three touchdowns [two on the ground, one in the air]. However, he missed 11 of 21 targets.
“I wasn’t clicking with my throws early on and our running game was doing solid, so we stuck with that,” Duffy said. “I started to make better throws in the second half after I got the first-game jitters out of the way.”
On the baseball field, the hard-throwing southpaw has racked up two career no-hitters.
Throwing darts on the football field is different, especially when you have defensive players crashing into you, but similar to pitching in that sense that both command respect.
“He’s been very helpful with other QBs,” Davis said.
Duffy’s easygoing nature helps him slide into a leadership position nicely, which played a big role in why he was named a team captain for West.
“I’m not so much the vocal person on the field. I just kind of go out there and do my thing. I’m trying to become more vocal, though,” he said.
“If I see guys get down or something I just kind of try to get them to smile and start laughing. I’m not trying to take away the focus on the game. If I make a mistake I can usually get myself going again. I’m sort of a jokester but I can be serious too.”
Davis coaches baseball and football at West and has developed a tight-knit relationship with his star athlete since Duffy came to Anchorage as a sophomore.
“He’s an awesome coach, easily one of the best in the state for football,” Duffy said. “He’s also a friend. He’s not always serious. He understands me when it comes to being a quarterback and baseball player at the same time. He’s a good coach.”
Davis, 32, still plays adult league baseball. He pitches, and is still a giant kid himself.
“Duffy and I compete quite a bit. Fungo golf is a big one. I own him at that. Sometimes it’s throwing a football into a trash can from 30 yards. That’s a push,” Davis said.
“He also makes fun of my sidearm throw. One time I told him not to emulate my arm slot and he goes, ‘Why not? You do it.’ To which I responded ‘Well I have health insurance.’
“The next week I got hit by an errant football or something and Duffy just yells ‘It’s OK he’s got health insurance.’ ”
Van Williams is a freelance writer in Anchorage and a correspondent for the Alaska School Activities Association.