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Gallagher breaks through in Georgetown
Thomas Gallagher, a 2010 Sequim High School graduate, started the final four games for Georgetown this season. Here, Gallagher and the Hoyas take on Lehigh on Nov. 13. Photo courtesy of Georgetown Athletics
by MICHAEL DASHIELL
An offensive lineman at 6 feet 5 inches and 365 pounds, Thomas Gallagher is used to getting bumps and bruises on the field.
After receiving a scholarship to play Division I football at Georgetown, he wasn’t about to let an injury keep him from earning a starting spot on the Hoyas’ offensive line.
So when a regular checkup revealed not only a torn meniscus but also a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament — the main ligament in his left knee binding the back of the thigh bone to the front of the shin bone — with just three games left in the season, Gallagher pressed team doctors for news.
“Can I still play?” he asked.
Only if it doesn’t hurt, they replied, but it’s surgery for you after the season’s finished.
The Sequim High School 2010 graduate played injury-free those final three games and looked to cement his spot in the starting rotation for the Hoyas, who improved from an 0-10 season in 2009 to 4-7 this fall.
With a little luck, the Hoyas could have been above .500 after losing on a last-second play to Yale and dropping a two-overtime decision to Wagner.
“The program is going in a great direction,” Gallagher says. “We’re very young, but a strong team. It’s looking up.”
Learning lessons on the field
One of the tallest, strongest and (by 65 pounds) biggest players on the Georgetown team, Gallagher figures to be a big part — figuratively and literally — of the Hoyas’ future.
Gallagher was simply a goliath in Sequim, overpowering linemen on both sides of the ball. He earned all-league first-team honors from his sophomore to senior year, all-state honorable mention the final two years and helped the Wolves to four consecutive state playoff appearances.
Those accolades didn’t help when he stepped out onto the field, however. Division I football is a long, long way from high school ball back in Sequim, Gallagher notes.
“You can’t take any plays off,” he says. “Every play, you’re fighting for your life. You don’t go up against any slouches. They were the best at their schools.”
Gallagher made his debut Sept. 4 in the season-opener against Davidson and came on in goal-line situations as a reserve at right guard.
Gallagher started his first game Oct. 30 against Fordham, also at right guard. He helped the Hoyas close out the season in a positive note, as Georgetown racked up 159 rushing yards in a 14-7 win against Marist.
Gallagher played left tackle in high school and says coaches may move him to tackle eventually.
“My main strength is run blocking,” Gallagher says. “I (am) getting to the point where I’m moving people easier.”
One big difference between high school and college football is being able to play just one side of the ball. Gallagher often played on Sequim’s offensive and defensive lines.
“What’s nice about playing one side of the ball is I can go 100 percent; it really helps,” he says. “If I play both sides of the ball (here), I would die.”
And the coaching is different, too, the Sequim grad says, noting that assistants are constantly calling players to check up on their grades, their meals, their workouts ….
“It’s a more involved relationship,” Gallagher says. “The coaches are rough. They’re cool, they’re your buddies, but on the field you hate them.”
The former all-league Sequim High player also has had to make considerable adjustments to his schedule. The Hoyas practice in the morning before classes most days and have a seven-hour workout on Sunday.
Gallagher is looking at a full load of classes this semester — sociology, a modern literature class, a theology class, Spanish II and calculus — and after originally considering a career in the communications field, he’s excited about trying out a mathematics major.
Until he has to declare a major, Gallagher’s got a few things to do; namely, recover from his surgery and get ready for spring and summer practices.
And after Georgetown? The NFL isn’t that far away, with the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens a short drive away and scouts peeking in on Hoya games.
And if that call doesn’t come? Gallagher says he is content.
“I’m getting a great education from one of the best schools in the country.”
Reach Michael Dashiell at email@example.com.