Being a part of one of the most successful programs and traditions in high school football would be enough for anyone, yet for someone like Old Saybrook resident and Xavier senior center Max Schumann, the state titles are only the beginning of the laundry list of accolades.
In addition to being with a part of a Falcons' program that has now won three straight Class LL state titles, Max has achieved his own personal marks for his dedication on the gridiron. Following the Falcons finishing the season with a title game 48-14 win over Norwich Free Academy, Max earned a trio of distinct honors. As he was named to the Connecticut High School Coaches' Association All-State squad, the senior lineman was also named to the New Haven Register's All-Area team and an additional All-State team honor by Walter Camp. While he has thanks and appreciation for each honor, Max knows that it was even more special to be a part of Xavier's exciting three-year run.
"To receive the CTHSCA honor was so great and made me happy; I could not stop smiling when I heard the news," says Max, whose Falcons went 11-1 this past fall. "It was also great to earn the New Haven Register award as there are so many great teams with teams around the area like Hand and Hillhouse and so many great players. Anyone who knows the sport of football knows how big Walter Camp is with it so that was also a big honor. It's amazing to be a part of a program like Xavier. To play with these guys, I could not ask for better teammates or better offensive linemen to play alongside. We all really love playing the game and winning because everyone wants it so bad and we play together for it."
The pigskin progress should come as no shock to Max given his blood background in the game, having an uncle who played high school football with his father Jim having played the game at the college level with Bowling Green. While the success may appear genetic on the surface, Max knows it comes from deep inside with dedication by both himself and his fellow Falcons.
"After the final last season, we only had a single week off and then it was right back to the weight room," says Max. "From the end of December to August, it is nonstop preparation. There is never a single, mandatory practice that I did not attend. I, along with everyone else, want to win."
The state-level recognition is only the beginning of Max's maximum success. The senior also has the added hurdle of tackling four AP courses from September until June. In trying to pinpoint how he does it all, Max feels it is simply translating the intangibles from the field to the classroom.
"I just try to have a great time management skill; that's the biggest thing," says Max, who has committed to play for University of Chicago with a goal to earn a political science degree. "Three of the AP courses are actually for college credit so I just work hard and try to balance everything."
One person who is not shocked, but very pleased to see Max's high state recognition is Falcons' Head Coach Sean Marinan. Given his attitude and approach to the game, the awards were a no-brainer for the senior.
"I was very happy to see the state recognize his level of play; Max is a great kid with a great attitude," said Marinan on Max, who also plays on the defensive side of the ball. "These awards have shown that the time he spent in the weight room finally paid off. His ability to move really helped us on defense this season. Being a tennis player also, his tennis game paid dividends, as well. For him to put it all together his senior year, it sends a great message to our younger players."
As the sky seems the limit for Max in the trenches and the books, he feels the same sentiment as he approaches the next level of his life. He feels, like the Falcons, success for anyone in anything can be duplicated with self belief.
"The hard work definitely pays off; I've learned about life through football and school," says Max, who thanks his father, along with former Xavier Offensive Line Coach Raj Jaswall for his success. "When you believe in yourself, there is nothing you cannot do. I remember looking around after last season and thinking, 'Why can't we repeat as champs next year?' and we did just that."