Game Recognize Game: Richland High School’s Griffin LaRue is our September Winner

Game Recognize Game: Richland High School’s Griffin LaRue is our September Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is All State wide receiver Griffin LaRue from Richland High School in Johnstown, PA.

For Griffin, football is more than a game – it’s everything to him. And he backs that up with hard work and dedication. Now in his last year at Richland High, Griffin is getting ready to take his game to the next level, and he can’t wait to see what happens next. Here’s what he told us about being the thrill of competing, being a role model, and what he hopes for the future:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student-athlete is a student who can excel in the classroom day in and day out, and still achieve all their goals and dreams on field.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far, and what makes that moment stand out for you?

I would say the highlight of my athletic career so far is definitely my first offer.  That moment gave me indescribable happiness!

Who is your role model in athletics?

My role model would definitely have to be LaRod Stephens-Howling.  Growing up and playing football in the same town in the same city as I am currently and still making it to the league and winning a Super Bowl is beyond crazy and inspiring to me.

How important is it to you to be a role model for younger athletes?

It’s extremely important to me, especially with me having two younger siblings that look up to everything I do and take after me.  Growing up with two older brothers, I always looked up to them and followed in their footsteps, and I want to guide my younger siblings and young student-athletes in the correct direction.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the intensity.  When I line up across from someone, I think in my head “It’s my family vs. their’s” and I’ll choose mine any day of the year.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school, and what are you most looking forward to?

My biggest out-of-this-world goal is to someday have a gold jacket on, but that’s me shooting for the stars. But I truly just want to be different and make a name for myself and to prove everyone that doubted me wrong.  One thing I’m extremely excited for and looking forward to is just going to college in general.  I feel like college will be a whole new world for me, and especially with football on top of it I feel I will learn so much.

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

Back to School Bag Guide

Back to School Bag Guide

Part of getting ready for a new school year and new sports season is making sure you have all the gear you need to win in style. And that means a new school bag. With so many different styles and colors to choose from, it can be hard to find the bag that’s right for your sport and for your look. We’re breaking down our top three favorite backpacks, mini backpacks, gymsacks, tote, duffels, crossbody bags, and kids’ bags to help make the decision easier. 

Back To School Bag Guide Backpacks

Backpacks

Obviously, when it comes to school, the most popular type of bag is the classic backpack, but there are so many varieties within this category from basic to decked out. To help you choose, here are our top three favorites as well as a list of some common features that you’ll find on many backpacks so you can identify the technology and know exactly what you’re getting.

Nike Hoops Elite Pro Backpack

While this backpack is designed for basketball players, it’s loaded with a ton of great features that make it the perfect choice for everyone. The bag has a sleek design and a duffel-like opening so you can set it down flat while looking for your workout clothes or textbooks. There’s a laptop sleeve, water bottle storage, and a ventilated pocket to keep sweaty items separate from the rest of your gear. Shop it here.

The North Face Jester Backpack

This do-it-all backpack is built to carry everything you need while keeping you cool and comfortable. It comes with a floating padded laptop sleeve, secondary compartment with zippered areas for pens and pencils, a front elastic bungee for external storage, and two water bottle pockets. It also features compression molded shoulder straps and a padded mesh back panel to ease the strain of carting around school supplies and sport gear. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Utility 4.0 Backpack

If you want the classic functionality of a backpack, but with a more unique look, this is the bag for you. It’s on-trend camo print and cord-lock and hood closure will help you stand out in the halls while keeping all your gear secure. This bag also has two water bottle pockets, an interior laptop sleeve, and ear-bud and charger storage. As an added bonus, this backpack is made from 100% recycled polyester. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Mini Backpacks

Mini Backpacks

If you want the school aesthetic but a little more stylized, try a mini backpack. These look like regular backpacks, but as the title implies, they’re smaller so you won’t find as many tech features on them and you won’t be able to fit as much inside. So, if you normally carry all your textbooks to and from school, this might not be the best choice for you. But, if you’re focused on style, here are our three favorite mini backpacks for this year.

Nike Brasilia JDI Mini AOP Backpack

With a see-through outer shell and allover print, the Brasilia Mini Backpack packs a big punch for such a small bag. It has two side mesh pockets, water-resistant construction, and two roomy zippered compartments for your essentials. Shop it here.

adidas Originals Santiago Mini Backpack

You can’t deny the appeal of the classic adidas Trefoil. On this mini backpack, it’s front and center, with additional branding across the top. This clean design is the perfect complement to all your school fits, and the webbed shoulder straps and multiple zippered pockets are perfect for comfortably securing all your must-haves. Shop it here.

Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack

This school year, vow to be bold, even down to the smallest details. The Nike Just Do It Mini Backpack is the perfect accessory for carting around your keys, wallet, and other small essentials. Its bold colors and thermoplastic material will pop in the halls or when you’re out with friends, and adjustable shoulder straps and top haul loop make it super easy to grab and go. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Gymsacks

Gymsacks

Gymsacks are as simple as bags get. They’re super lightweight and easy to throw on, but they rarely have pockets or any other tech. Usually, it’s just a single pull string compartment to put everything in. If you like minimalist style and carry very few items, this could be an option for you. They’re bigger than a mini backpack, so you could probably fit a small laptop or tablet in it, but, because of the simplicity of design and material, you’ll want to make sure you put your electronics in a padded case before putting it in the bag. Here are our three favorites.

Jordan Air Drawstring Gym Sack

You can’t go wrong with the Jumpman. This gymsack is designed to hold an extra pair of clothes and small workout essentials, and it has a side zippered pocket for more secure storage. Shop it here.

adidas Alliance II Sackpack

This gymsack packs a little extra punch, thanks to two side mesh pockets and a front zip pocket to hold your valuables. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and no matter which one you choose, you’ll be rocking the classic athletic Three Stripes. Shop it here.

Nike Brasilia Gymsack

When you want to grab your workout or class essentials and go, simplicity is key. The Nike Brasilia Gymsack has everything you need and nothing you don’t – with three storage areas and a reinforced bottom to protect your gear. It comes in multiple colors to match your personal style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Tote Bags

Tote Bags

The most purse-like fashion option is a tote bag. They’re big enough to fit everything you need and feature a few separate sections like a small accessory pocket and laptop sleeve. The biggest difference with this bag is that it’s not quite as hands-free. Since it doesn’t have dual shoulder straps, you can either put it on one shoulder or just carry it in your hand. Here are three great options.

Jordan Flight Essential Adjustable Tote

Legendary Jumpman logo? Check. Removable shoulder strap for multiple carry options? Check. Coated zipper pulls for durability that will last all school year? Check. The Jordan Flight Essential Tote is a triple threat. Shop it here.

adidas All Me Tote

Sport and style go hand in hand with the functional adidas All Me Tote. This bag is made from premium air mesh and has adjustable straps so you can carry it as a crossbody, over your shoulder, or by the handles. Multiple internal pockets let you organize everything just the way you like it. Shop it here.

Nike One Tote

This bag is the one to fit all your needs – from class to practice and everything in between. This versatile tote bag features a large main storage area, water bottle pocket, and elastic bungees for external storage. And it comes in two great neutral colors to complement your school fits and your workout style. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Duffel Bags

Duffel Bags

A small duffel bag can be a great option for student athletes. Most come with a long strap that you can wear crossbody to keep your hands free. When people picture duffels, they often think of big, bulky bags, but they come in many smaller sizes that can be perfect for athletes who don’t want to carry multiple bags to school. With a duffel, you’ll have enough room to store your school items as well as your gear for practice. Here are our top styles.

Nike One Duffel

Just like the Nike One Tote, this duffel bag combines sporty style and functionality in a way that can’t be beat. A vented compartment is great for storing sweaty clothes after practice, and a zippered shoe compartment and magnetic pockets provide plenty of storage for your school essentials and workout must-haves. Shop it here.

adidas Defender IV Duffel

This durable bag has front and end zippered pockets, dual carry handles with padded grip, and a shoulder strap that you can adjust or remove to meet your needs. The dimensions on this version are 11.75″ H X 20.5″ L X 11″ W, but it also comes in a medium size if you need extra space for practice clothes and shoes. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Nike Brasilia Duffel

With an array of color options and the classic Nike Swoosh, the Brasilia Duffel is a great option for student athletes who need to grab everything and go. It features a dual-zip main compartment, zippered outside pocket for small essentials, and a show compartment to keep everything clean and dry. The dimensions on this bag are 20″ L x 11″ W x 11″ H, but it’s also available in a medium size if you need more space. Shop the small duffel here and the medium duffel here.

Back To School Bag guide Crossbody Bags

Crossbody Bags

If you’re looking for a stylish way to carry your daily essentials, a crossbody bag might be the right choice for you. Small and lightweight, these bags won’t work for all your school supplies or sports gear, but they’re perfect for your keys, wallet, chapstick, phone, and other small items. Here are three picks we love.

Nike Heritage Hip Pack

With a main compartment and smaller accessories pocket, the Nike Heritage Pack will keep everything organized and easy to reach. The strap has a buckle closure, and can be worn around your waist, across your body, or over your shoulder. This comes in a bunch of colors and is the perfect finishing touch to your everyday look. Shop it here.

adidas Originals National Festival Crossbody

With over 100 5-star reviews, this bag can’t be beat. Its unique design features a hook-and-loop fastener so you can attach this to larger bags and backpacks and a customizable strap for when you want to wear it solo. It comes in three colors and features the iconic Trefoil front and center. Shop it here.

Jordan Jumpman AJX Crossbody

Elevate your look to legend status with this synthetic leather crossbody. A zip closure and back pocket for your phone leave plenty of room for all your essentials and an adjustable strap lets you wear it your way. This bag comes in white or red for a vibrant pop that’ll turn heads. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Kids' Bags

Kids’ Bags

Even the youngest student athletes need great options for carrying their school and sports gear. We’ve got a variety of bags sized just for them and designed to meet their specific needs. Here are three of our favorites along with a tip to make sure you’re carrying your gear safely.

Pro Tip:
If you find yourself hunched over to ease the weight of your bag, consider lightening your load. Kids younger than 13 shouldn’t carry more than 10% of their body weight, while kids 13 and older are okay carrying up to 25% of their body weight.

Nike Young Elemental Backpack

This backpack is the perfect fit for a young student athlete who needs to organize all their gear. It has a removable pencil case for easy access in class. There are also multiple zip pockets to hold school books, gym clothes, calculators, and everything else you might need. Padded shoulder straps keep you comfortable in the halls, on the bus, and back and forth from practice. Shop it here.

Nike CR7 Backpack

For an athletic look that doesn’t sacrifice storage space, go with the Ronaldo-inspired CR7 Backpack. It’s got bold design elements, a large main compartment, and a zippered front pouch for smaller items. The back panel and shoulder straps are padded, so you’ll stay comfortable even when you’re loaded down with homework. Shop it here.

Nike Futura Jumbo Lunch Tote

Who wants a boring brown bag lunch when you can keep your food fresh and cool in an insulated tote from the Swoosh?? It’s the perfect size for lunch and snacks, and its soft shell design means you can easily fold it up and fit it in your backpack when it’s empty. Shop it here.

Back To School Bag Guide Sports Bags

Sport-Specific Bags

If you need a bag built specifically for your sport, we’ve got you covered there, too. We’ve got options with compartments for your basketball or volleyball, baseball bats and helmet, wrestling shoes, and more. 

Game Recognize Game: Coppell High School’s Malkam Wallace is our July Winner

Game Recognize Game: Coppell High School’s Malkam Wallace is our July Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is football and lacrosse player Malkam Wallace from Coppell High School in Texas.

One of three sophomores selected for Coppell’s varsity lacrosse team, Malkam knows how to step up and perform under pressure. He played a key defensive role in the team’s successful run to the THSLL Class A State Championship this past season while also earning a 3.78 GPA and logging community service hours through Coppell’s chapter of the Young Men’s Service League.

In addition to dominating on the lacrosse field and in the classroom – Malkam appeared on the A/B Honor roll last year and has been invited to the National Society of High School Scholars – Malkam also plays football. This fall, he’ll move up from JV and take a running back slot on Coppell’s varsity squad.

Here’s what Malkam had to say about his love for lacrosse, giving back to his community, and his plans for the future:

What’s your definition of a successful student-athlete?

For me, success as a student athlete is getting better each day and competing to be the best version of myself. I always try to improve, no matter what it is, be it football or lacrosse or just sports in general.

How did you first get into playing lacrosse?

My mom actually put me in when I was young. I think fourth grade is when I started playing, and since then I’ve loved the sport and stuck with it. I love how fast it is, the aspect that anything can change.

What was it like for you to be one of the younger players to make varsity?

It was exciting. It was me and I think two other guys as the young kids on varsity. It was a welcoming experience. I learned a lot from the older guys, so going into the future I’ll be able to pass down those skills and help younger players.

What benefits do you see in being a multi-sport athlete?

Being a multi-sport athlete is very beneficial to each game.Playing multiple sports develops different skills that impact more than your game. It impacts your skills outside the field and how you see each sport.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

Just recently, in my sophomore year, our varsity lacrosse team won our State Championship. We’re the THSLL Class A division. So, it was a great experience and being able to be with the guys and winning a State Championship was amazing.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I take a lot of inspiration from Jim Brown because he kind of reminds me of myself. He played football and lacrosse professionally and he wore number 32, as well.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competition is that it motivates me to be better. I don’t like losing in general, so I think when I compete against people, it drives me to be a better athlete and win. I just love competing against others.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

My main goal would be to make it to the next level – to receive an athletic scholarship to either play football or lacrosse. Getting there is gonna be a grind, I know that for sure. I know it won’t be easy. I’m not the biggest kid on the field, so I know I have to put a lot of work in, just keep my head down, and grind.

Can you tell me a little about your community service through the Young Men’s Service League?

The service league is a mom and son’s league where all the families come together to do service for communities in need. Recently, I helped build ramps for people with disabilities who needed help accessing their houses. And we’ll do things like helping special needs kids who just want to enjoy water parks or skate parks, just helping them go to those areas and have fun.

I love the feeling that I can personally be part of a bigger picture, that I’m putting something into the world and helping people who really need it.

 

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

 

Game Recognize Game: Timber Creek’s Savannah Henderson is our June Winner

Game Recognize Game: Timber Creek’s Savannah Henderson is our June Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is basketball standout Savannah Henderson from Florida’s Timber Creek High School.

Already committed to UCF, Savannah works hard to maintain a high GPA while balancing community service hours and dedication to her craft. Savannah was nominated by head coach Freddie Cintron, who recognizes her commitment to success on the court and in the classroom.

 

“Savannah has redefined what it means to be a student athlete here at Timber Creek. In the classroom she has worked diligently to earn a 4.2 GPA while also leading our Girls Basketball program to 3 straight District Championships, 1 Regional Championship, and a Final Four appearance in the state of Florida Class 7A. She has become the leading scorer in program history in addition to numerous other accolades. She is driven for success and her work ethic is unmatched.”

Here’s what Savannah had to say about her love for the game and her plans for the future:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

My definition of a successful student athlete is someone who can succeed at a high level not only in their sport but in the classroom as well! 

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

The highlight of my athletic career so far has been being ranked one of the top 40 players in the country in the ESPN Top 100 in the class of 2022! And committing to play Division One basketball at The University of Central Florida for my mom! 

Who is your role model in athletics?

My role models in athletics are Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant! Kobe Bryant because of his unbelievable work ethic and passion for the game of basketball, and Kevin Durant because of his ability to score at will on all areas on the floor with ease. 

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is that I am able to use it as an escape! When playing, I am able to use all the built up emotion that I have and focus it towards something. So, when I play, I am able to let out all of those emotions and play the sport I love! Not only that but I love the competitive nature that comes with the sport. I love to compete and I love to win! 

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

After high school I would like to get my college degree along with working towards my goal of playing overseas! Even though I love the game, the ball eventually stops bouncing, so I am using medicine as my back up plan with plans of going to med school and becoming an anesthesiologist! 

 

 

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April Winner

Game Recognize Game: Foundation Academy’s Danny Stutsman is our April Winner

Each month Eastbay is highlighting a top high school athlete by spotlighting their accomplishments both in and outside the game. This month’s winner is standout linebacker Danny Stutsman from Foundation Academy in central Florida.

A threat on both sides of the ball, Danny knows that to win games, you have to be just as dedicated off the field as you are on Friday nights. In his senior season, Danny worked alongside his team and led Foundation Academy to its first Regional Championship and State Semi Final.

Through eight games that season, Danny tallied:

On Offense

  • 64 carries for 548 yards
  • 10 rushing TDs
  • 25 catches for 542 yards
  • 21 yards per catch
  • 7 receiving touchdowns

On Defense

  • 52 solo tackles
  • 11 tackles for loss
  • 5 sacks
  • 2 forced fumbles
  • 2 interception returns for touchdowns
  • 4 pass deflections
  • 1 blocked punt

And that was just the regular season. In the playoffs, Danny racked up 164 yards and 3 touchdowns in the Regional Semi Final, 151 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 11 tackles, and 1 sack in the Regional Finals, and 9 tackles and 1 receiving touchdown in the State Semi Final against Victory Christian.

It’s a high school career full of performances like these that helped Danny make First Team All State in 2018 and 2019 and 2A Defensive Player of the Year in 2020. His proven football IQ and 3.8 GPA garnered Danny over 25 Division 1 scholarship offers before he committed to University of Oklahoma.

Danny was nominated for Game Recognize Game by Brad Lord, his head football coach at Foundation Academy and someone who’s seen first hand what an asset Danny is on the field.

Here’s what Danny had to say about competition, leadership, and playing college ball:

What is your definition of a successful student-athlete?

Utilizing lessons that I have learned in the classroom to transcend onto the athletic field. Also being able to balance the responsibilities a full-time student has while also managing the schedule of full-time athlete.

What has been the highlight of your athletic career so far?

While my acceptance into the University of Oklahoma and earning an athletic scholarship has been a memorable moment in my career, I would also add being able to lead my high school team, Foundation Academy, to a regional championship for the first time in the school’s history has been meaningful in so many ways.

Who is your role model in athletics?

I’d say one of my idols in athletics itself is Michael Jordan. Although he’s a basketball player, his tenacity to always be the best player on the court and off has motivated me tremendously, and his constant desire to always compete no matter the circumstances has always made me push my game to the next level. Also, most importantly, Jordan’s ability to lead a team and motivate the players around him is something I try to take out of his game.

What do you love most about competing?

What I love most about competing is the constant drive to be the best. Competing is so much more than just in-between the whistles on the football field. It is also during your off time competing against yourself and seeing how hard you can push yourself every day to be the best possible player and person.

What are some of the goals you’d like to achieve after high school?

Some goals that I would like to achieve after high school would be to make an impact at Oklahoma as soon as I arrive, as well as seize the opportunity I am given by pursuing my college education.

 

To nominate a deserving athlete for Eastbay’s Game Recognize Game series, fill out the form here.

Make sure to follow us on Instagram @officialeastbay and @eastbaywomen