McKillop, fellow Tomahawks gear up for 1 more game

Photo by TOM KING Merrimack’s Danny McKillop was a popular interview during a recent practice for the CHAD East-West All-Star Football Game. Tonight’s kickoff is at 7 p.m.

BEDFORD – Danny McKillop had a great multi-sport athletic career at Merrimack High School.

As he moves on to Virginia Tech to study aerospace engineering, he knows that Friday’s annual CHaD East-West All-Star Football Game at Saint Anselm College starting at 7 p.m. will be probably his last competitive event.

“Maybe intramurals,” he said with a chuckle. “But with studying a-engineering, I’ll be pretty busy.”

“This feels really, really good,” he said. “It’s for a great cause, and I’m happy to be able to put the pads on one more time, you know?”

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound tight end sees that there are familiar faces, like his former quarterback Justin Grassini, on the West team. Tyler DeNeill is also on the West team roster, but missed the first day or two of workouts as he was away with his family on vacation. Other Tomahawks on the roster are running back Alec Bronchuk and receiver Ryan Fournier.

“It’s great to see some familiar faces,” McKillop, who also was an inside force in basketball, said. “Just something to lean on, you know?”

How will it feel to be playing in his last football game ever?

“Hopefully not too bad, maybe a little bittersweet,” McKillop said. “But taking the week, hopefully it goes by slow. I’m going to have a good time.”

Good idea, because aerospace engineering isn’t exactly basket weaving.

Grassini finds new home at SUNY Cortland

Sometimes you just know.

That’s the feeling that Merrimack’s Justin Grassini, who set the state record for touchdown passes in a single season last fall, knew when he first visited SUNY Cortland.

“I liked the coaches, the size of the school for Division III, it was just a good fit for me,” Grassini said. “Right when I stepped on campus, I knew it was my home.”

Grassini will study sports management there, with the desire to be a marketing manager for a sports franchise. He decided on Cortland over the winter, but a real selling point was the opportunity to play both football and baseball.

“Definitely,” Grassini said. “It definitely opened my eyes.”

He was disappointed in how the Tomahawks’ baseball season went this year as they missed the postseason. “A little bit, yeah,” he said. “Not too much to say about it, a bad year for Merrimack baseball. But definitely (he wants to pitch again).”

Grassini said he’d trade his state record for that chance to win a state championship. The Tomahawks lost a tough Division I semifinal to Bedford, right on the field where he’s practicing now, back in mid-November.

“It (the record) wasn’t really a big deal to me,” he said. “I’d have rather won a championship with my friends. But it is what it is.”