Burdick has been a versatile Warrior

Garrett Burdick (3) of Valley Regional/Old Lyme runs with the ball after making a catch in a game against Haddam-Killingworth on Nov. 22 at Deep River.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Garrett Burdick (3) of Valley Regional/Old Lyme runs with the ball after making a catch in a game against Haddam-Killingworth on Nov. 22 at Deep River. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Deep River — Senior Garrett Burdick has played 15 games for the Valley Regional/Old Lyme football team since joining them last season.

Burdick has 14 interceptions.

Yes, 14 interceptions in 15 games.

Burdick, who played his first two years with New London, is also the Warriors’ leading receiver this season and their kicker, too.

Valley/Old Lyme is really, really happy he's playing for it now.

“He was definitely a blessing, and this year he’s been a really good leader, too,” Warriors’ head coach Tim King said.

Burdick is a big reason why Valley/Old Lyme (9-1) is the top seed in the CIAC Class M tournament. They’ll play host to No. 8 Berlin (8-2) in Tuesday’s quarterfinals at 6:30 p.m.

Burdick has led the Warriors in catches (34), receiving yardage (600), and touchdown catches (11). He also set the program’s single-season record with 10 interceptions, converted on 41 of 44 extra points, and made all three of his field goal attemps.

Oh, yeah — Burdick never played football until his freshman year at New London.

“I played soccer when I was younger,” Burdick said. “I played a good amount of soccer. I played premier with Southeast Soccer. That definitely helped my leg strength for sure.

“When I went to New London (Science & Technology Magnet School), all of my buddies who were on my AAU basketball team in sixth, seventh and eighth grade, they all played football. I was going to the same school with them, so I was like, ‘alright, well, I want to be able to have some friends who I’m playing the same sport with.’ I didn’t know anyone playing soccer. Honestly, I like soccer. I still love the sport of soccer a lot, I really do, but I think I needed a break from it. … I felt like switching to football was a good move.”

Burdick wasted no time making an impression as a freshman for the Whalers. He kicked a game-winning 22-yard field goal as time expired to give them a 23-21 win over Middletown (Nov. 8, 2013). He later kicked a go-ahead 40-field goal in a 9-7 win over Norwich Free Academy on Thanksgiving Day.

Burdick, an Old Lyme resident, transfered to its high school last year and had to sit out five games per CIAC transfer rules. He played receiver in 7-on-7 passing leagues, but never in a varsity game.

“I started on the passing league team in the summer and had a blast doing it,” Burdick said. “I really thought I could do something at receiver.”

Burdick wowed Valley/Old Lyme at his first practice as he looked like a seasoned veteran.

“He worked out with (quarterback) Matt Sapere over the summer time,” King said. “They’re good friends.

“He’s just so fluid in everything he does. It’s almost effortless. It looks like he’s just jogging.”

Burdick has emerged as one of the most versatile players the Warriors have ever had. King and his staff ranked him with the likes of former All-Starters Chris Jean-Pierre, Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn, and Curtis Morris.

“He could actually be our punter, too,” King said. “I mean, Ernest (Jean-Pierre) does fairly well, but if he wanted to (he could) in a dire situation. But then that would be just one more thing for Garrett to do.”

n.griffen@theday.com

Garrett Burdick (3) of Valley Regional/Old Lyme prepares to catch a pass in a game against Haddam-Killingworth on Nov. 22 at Deep River.  (Dana Jensen/The Day)
Garrett Burdick (3) of Valley Regional/Old Lyme prepares to catch a pass in a game against Haddam-Killingworth on Nov. 22 at Deep River. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

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