While some of his Manchester Essex teammates may subscribe to the kinds of bizarre superstitions that often grace a football locker room, Cory Burnham keeps it simple.
For the senior quarterback, it’s two staples of childhood that highlight his game day routine: waffles for breakfast and a pre-game peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I’ve just always done it,” Burnham said. “I always make sure to have some peanut butter and jelly around.”
Few that have seen him on the field would guess Burnham’s fuel could also be found in a kindergartener’s lunchbox.
A pre-game meal of raw eggs and broken glass, maybe, but not a PB&J.
Burnham’s about as gritty as they come under center, every bit as tough in the running game as he is gifted through the air. And while the co-captain’s senior season has been less than ideal -- the Hornets enter tonight’s game against North Reading at 1-6 -- it’s been Burnham that’s at least kept the team above water.
Coach Mike Athanas had Burnham penciled in as the centerpiece of his offense before the season began. But after a slew of injuries have left the Hornets shorthanded, particularly in the backfield, it’s gotten to the point where the Hornets’ attack lives and dies by the play of Burnham.
He hasn’t disappointed. Burnham enters tonight’s game as one of the area’s top passers, having piled up 736 yards and seven touchdowns through the air.
At 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, though, his running style breaks the mold of the typical dual-threat high school quarterback. He’s more likely to lower the shoulder on an opposing linebacker than break for the sideline.
“I always cringe (when he lowers the shoulder), but you can’t worry about it,” Athanas said. “He’s a big kid. He’s rugged, he plays through pain and he’s a tough kid. He’s always solid.”