Playing football for Vikings has big impact on DeLao, Abraham
Carsen DeLao, a two-year starting linebacker for the Hopkins football team, was beyond sad on Friday, Nov. 8, after he played his final prep football game for the Vikings.
“Losing tonight really hurts,” DeLao said following a 36-20 loss to Kalamazoo United in a Division 5 district final. “I really thought we were going to win.”
The Vikings were extra anxious to play United. It was, after all, the same United program that sent the Vikings home from the 2018 playoffs.
Hopkins beat Dowagiac in the first round of the playoffs, while United upset previously unbeaten Berrien Springs in its opening-round game to set up the rematch.
“We really wanted those guys again,” DeLao said. “We wanted the opportunity to get revenge from our loss to them last year.”
DeLao and his teammates weren’t the only ones who wanted another hack at the Titans. So did Hopkins coach Cody Francis.
“We knew they were a better team than their record indicated, but we thought we had a great chance at beating them,” Francis said.
DeLao was one of 15 seniors who played his final game for the Vikings.
“I’m really going to miss not playing Hopkins football anymore,” DeLao said. “It’s been a big part of my life for many years.”
DeLao hopes to make some big bucks after he graduates and attends a trade school.
“That’s the goal,” he said.
The goal of Julian Abraham is a bit different, at least at this point in his life.
The 15-year-old Abraham didn’t have the kind of hard-hitting tackles DeLao was known for. He was just thrilled to be playing American football for the first time.
“Even though I had never played American football before it was fun being around the players, coaches and students,” said Abraham, an exchange student from Tremblay en France, a small city near Paris.
Abraham, who spent most of the season on the Vikings JV team, said football was an amazing sport and that he loved being around his teammates.
“I had a wonderful welcome and they treated me very well,” he said. “I was very much loved by JV and varsity players and now I get to be a part of their friends.”
He specialized in another sport back home.
“In France I play handball,” he said.
Abraham hopes to return to Michigan someday to see his host family Jim and Lisa Wilson of Allegan.
“I would do everything to return to Michigan to see my family and friends again and see some good football players,” he said. “In France, in my school I practiced boxing, ping pong and soccer.
“I do not know if I want to practice other sports (this winter and spring), because I just wanted to make a dream to play American football on a good team and my dream is totally successful.”