The transformation of Liam Cavanaugh

Bryan Johnson

In the second quarter of the West Ottawa vs. Jenison football game, Sr. Liam Cavanaugh, West Ottawa’s tight end, lined up on the right side of the ball and ran a post corner, leaving him around 15 yards from the line of scrimmage square in the middle of the field. Then, Cavanaugh took off diagonally right in front of the safety. Jr. Isaac VanDyke, West Ottawa’s quarterback was standing in the pocket dancing, waiting for Cavanagh to make a break from the safety. VanDyke tossed the ball into the air, forming a tight spiral; it was placed perfectly. Just out of reach from the corners extended body. Cavanaugh rose up and grabbed the ball with authority. He was immediately wrapped up by the two corners who were barely able to take him down.This particular play is something that Cavanaugh might not have made last year.

   Cavanaugh has been making huge strides throughout his years at West Ottawa. From his first year on varsity being 6’1.5 and 170 lbs to his second year on varsity being 6’2 and a half and 190 lbs, to finally his senior year being 6’4 and 208 pounds. Cavanaugh made plays his first two years on varsity, but he is on a different level this year. Not only through playing, but as well as being a better teammate and leading by example. Him making extremely athletic plays and leading the team with a purpose really shows the transformation of Cavanaugh over the past three years. The plays being made and the effort being displayed this year was not apparent in the past.  

   Unquestionably, Cavanaugh is a hard worker. He was not always the player that he is now; Cavanaugh made huge commitments to himself. Cavanaugh spent most of his free time in his junior year offseason lifting weights. Cavanaugh’s process was really straight forward, many things that any athlete can do in an everyday gym or at home. Cavanaugh described the process as slow at first, but eventually, it picked up and he started to see results in his body. Not only did he see results, he started feeling better in his everyday life. Cavanaugh often says, “You get out the work you put into something, nothing is or was ever just handed to me. Therefore I go as hard as possible.” This really shows the character of Cavanaugh, not just as a person in his regular life but as an athlete. Cavanaugh said, “Everything is about your mentality going into something, if you are negative and bitter toward something, odds are you aren’t going to get anything positive out of it and you will waste your time.” Cavanaugh also followed that statement up saying “And, I’d prefer to not waste my time because time is valuable”.  

   Cavanaugh’s diet and exercise have really been shown throughout his body changes. He not only helped himself by getting in better shape, but helped out the football program as well. Cavanaugh’s strides over the last three years to better himself really made a huge difference in the production for the team and also for his recruitment after West Ottawa’s seasons ends. Cavanaugh hopes this year is not the end to his football career; he will continue to work hard and hope for a full scholarship offer from the college or university of his choice.