By Jeanne Sager
GRAHAMSVILLE October 18, 2002 David Felder loves a challenge.
Some of his earliest memories include playing football in the snow outside his home in Liberty as a kid, challenging his brother and cousin to see who could run the farthest or make the most receptions.
Now Felder is taking that competitive attitude out onto the field each weekend as a leading rusher for the Tri-Valley Bears.
And with his brother, Eli, across the field, hes still putting up big numbers to prove hes the bigger brother.
Last weekend we challenged each other to see who had more sacks, Felder explained.
I did, of course, he added with a laugh.
But its that competitive spirit that has made Felder an asset to the Tri-Valley team, according to Coach Dave Viglione.
Felder started playing football in eighth grade, shortly after moving to Woodbourne.
At first it was just something to do after school instead of sitting at home, but as Felder worked on his game, he found he had a knack for football.
And with his speed (the senior also runs the 200 meter for the Bearss track team), Felder became an invaluable asset during practice, helping as a youngster to get the varsity team into shape.
I dont know if David really got a lot of playing time as a sophomore on varsity, but he was very instrumental on our scout team, Viglione noted. He was so fast, he got us ready to go after kids who are varsity-caliber athletes.
When the teams star running back was injured last year, Felder saw his chance to get out on the field and prove his skills.
Last year was his standout year, earning Felder an honorable mention nomination on the Section IX Division V all-star team.
And this year, Felder is already leading the Bears to victory. Hes had record-length touchdowns, running 44 yards against Liberty to score and averaging 126 yards per game.
Felders speed enables him to stay out ahead of the opposing defense, and hes scored 40 points during the first six weeks of the season.
Davids been our workshorse this year, Viglione noted. Hes far and away our leading back as far as rushing and touchdowns.
Hes filled a very important slot for us with his speed, and hes really stepped up and carried the load for us.
But Felder said he couldnt do it without the other guys on his team especially the linemen and the support from the coaches (not just Viglione, but position coach Jason Semo and assistant coaches John Rush and Joe Porcaro).
I takes a lot for me to get a lot of yards, but they put a lot in too, Felder explained. Without our linemen, without our blockers, you wouldnt be interviewing me right now.
Guys like Josh Moore, Chris Briggs, Chris Poley, Alan Coombe, Brandon Conklin, Odin Montalto, Bryan Poley, Tom Byrne, Danny Knox, and, of course, Eli, make playing the game a little bit easier for Felder.
For Felder, football is just a way to get out his energy. Generally the quiet kid in class, Felder doesnt get hyped up about the game until hes out on the field doing what he loves to do.
Then, with his buddies around him, Felder becomes the funny kid, the class clown, who enjoys life and making people laugh.
Theres no trash talking, and Felders very serious about the game, but he enjoys himself.
Most people in school know me as that quiet kid, but when Im around my friends and people I know well, I open up, Felder explained. Im a funny person, I love to joke around.
He hopes that knack for comedy will one day lead to a job on the stage or screen as an actor. Hes planning to attend Sullivan County Community College after graduation in June, then search for a college that will allow him to study performing arts and perhaps open up a spot on their football team.
Name: David Felder
School and grade: Senior, Tri-Valley Central School
Family: Felder lives with sister and guardian Shirley Felder.
Favorite sport: Football
Ultimate athletic goal or dream career: Felder hopes to play football after high school and pursuing a career in acting.
College plans: Attend Sullivan County Community College for a semester to get my head on straight, then head to a larger school.
Favorite school subject: Math