JUDGE, AUSTIN LEAD SPARTANS INTO D2 CLASS 5A TITLE GAME. G3
Apart from one another, they are two of the most competitive individuals in the WVC.
For awhile, thatwas exactly what Aaron Austin and Sean Judge were. Theywere opponents until they both joined forces in middle school.
Rest assured, each one knew about the other. Whether it was Little League, mini-football or basketball, they were opponents looking to get the best of one another.
Once Judge transferred to Valley West from Good Shepherd, they became teammates and best friends.
Together, they are a huge reason why Valley West is 20-3 over the last two seasons heading into tonight’s District 2 Class 5A championship game against Abington Heights at Spartan Stadium.
“We met in middle school. We were hanging out all summer and became good friends,” Austin said. “We always played basketball, baseball and football against each other.”
In their final year of Little League, Austin’s West Side Little League team beat Judge’s Kingston squad 6-5 for the league championship.
“They were like on their 10th pitcher,” Judge said. “There were two outs and Iwas on deck. The kid in front of me popped out.”
Judge also remembers that growing up Austin was the only one he couldn’t out run.
It wasn’t until sometime in middle school that Judge got faster and was able to finally get the best of Austin.
Both havemade an impact on the Valley West program. Judge came up as a freshman and saw limited action. Austin became a varsity player his sophomore year and had a limited role.
Everyone understood that the quarterback’s job was Austin’s to lose heading into last season.
For Judge, his speed and elusiveness is what gets him by. Get him the ball and he is a threat to score anytime from any place on the field.
“I knew I would be decent at football,” Judge said. “I didn’t think I would score as much as I have or have as many yards. I was kind of in awe as it unfolded. I didn’t think when I started I would accomplish what I have.”
Judge has scored 70 career touchdowns, has rushed for 2,799 yards and has 1,474 career receiving yards.
Austin needs 9 yards passing to reach 3,000 for his career with all but 20 coming during his junior and senior year. He has also rushed for 1,460 yards.
“It’s been pretty great actually,” Austin said. “My sophomore year I didn’t have much of a role unless somebody got hurt. My junior year I stepped in as the starter. Now this year is kind of what I expected.”
Although this year didn’t start out that way. The Valley West offensive line was inexperienced with the exception of Chris Bleich and Brydon Rukstalis. There were mistakes made and penalties committed which resulted in the clock in Austin’s head to start ticking faster than he wanted.
But after the fourth game of the season that all changed. Austin began to get more time in the pocket, and Judge was doing his best to get open.
“Coming into the season, honestly, I didn’t know how the season would go,” Judge said. “We knew we had a tough schedule. There were a lot of new kids that I never actually played with. The beginning of the season was rough, they settled in and got used to the speed of the game.”
Austin and Judge had no such issues. They have been on the same page for the last two years.
Take for example the first possession of the Coughlin game in Week 10. Austin was chased from the pocket and was scrambling. He looked left, saw Judge, and 53 yards later Valley West was ahead by a touchdown.
Sometimes, when Judge is lined up on the outside, all it takes is a look.
“It’s good to have him,” Austin said. “I know I rely on him quite a bit. I know if I throw something up that he will go and get it.”
Valley West’s Sean Judge, left, and Aaron Austin have been the key components to the Spartans’ offense the last two seasons.