EAST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- A year ago, East Bridgewater's Casey DeAndrade burst onto the scene by scoring in a variety of ways. His 23 touchdowns for the 9-2 Vikings broke down like this: 10 rushing, four receiving, one passing and eight returns (four interceptions, one fumble, one kickoff, two punts). And from that, seven of those scores were for 70 yards or more.
So with versatility and home-run ability like that, how does one follow up in his swan song campaign? So far, the UNH commit has done his damage mostly on the ground, with 11 of his Division 4-best 12 touchdowns coming by way of the run (he also had an 85-yard kickoff return for a score).
Through five games this season for the No. 23 Vikings, he has 578 rushing yards. Something tells us it's only a matter of time before he really, truly explodes (even though he's already on track to match last year's season total). Moments before East Bridgewater head coach Shawn Tarpey was honored as the New England Patriots Coach of the Week, DeAndrade talked with ESPNBoston.com about his running style, how he stays loose, and community pride in the South Shore League.
Q: Notice you've grown your hair out a little bit. What's the story with that?
A: "Me and my brother [Justin DeAndrade] both decided to do it. He plays football for Worcester State. We both decided to let it grow out, we have a bet going to see who can grow it the longest. Just a little thing in the family."
Q: So who's winning the bet, and what does the winner get?
A: "Mostly bragging rights. I think I'm winning right now, mine's a little bit longer, but we'll see. We'll keep it going, I dunno (laughs)."
Q: Last season, you were taking the ball in so many ways, and you scored in a variety of methods. It looks like you're more in the backfield so far this season.
A: "Yeah, well just at the beginning of the year, we're trying to get more people around. But I still have one pick I brought back, and then a couple of punts, and I'm mostly in the backfield, yeah, but last week we started to venture out with it. We'll see how it goes from here on."
Q: You've obviously got some elite speed. Talk about your running style, and how you've developed that.
A: "It's a lot of cuts. It's all, like, shifty stuff. I don't really know, you can't really describe how you do it. You just have to be doing it, know what I mean? I just do it. Just gotta do it, run away from the person that's trying to tackle you."
Q: It's not often that a kid playing in the South Shore League gets Division 1 interest. How did you go about getting exposed?
A: "I don't know, I just worked hard. Everyone says, 'Oh, you should go to B-R [Bridgewater-Raynham]', or 'You should go to these schools because you'll get looked at more', but I don't believe that. I believe that if you have talent, they're going to find you. I just worked hard. I worked hard in the offseason, worked hard everywhere else, and it just paid off."
Q: So how did they find you?
A: "I went to BC camp a couple times, then I went to other camps like the UNH camp and the UConn camp. I don't know, coach Tarp [Shawn Tarpey] does a real good job exposing me and Tim [O'Brien] to everyone. He does a real good job with that."
Q: Looking back on your career so far, what's the best touchdown you've scored so far?
A: "I'd probably say last year against Abington (a 22-12 win on November 5). It was just a regular play, and I just broke it out and we sealed the deal on that touchdown. It was just a zone left, I think, and I took it on the outside. I beat one kid through a stiffarm, and just beat him all the way out. I'd say it was about 60 yards. It was against one of our biggest rivals, too, a big league game, so it was huge."
Q: What is your favorite play to run?
A: "I'd probably say our zone. It's our bread and butter, it's easy."
Q: You mention the importance of playing Abington, and most of these South Shore League teams seem to have a good rivalry with one another. What do you think makes this league so special?
A: "Everyone's always competitive. You can't overlook someone, because, I mean, last week Hull beat Rockland and no one could ever see that coming. We only beat Hull 28-7, and then we came and beat Cohasset, but you can't overlook anybody. They'll come out and just beat you. I can't really explain it. Everyone's just so competitive."
Q: Who is the best player you've faced so far in high school?
A: "I'd say Christian Lapointe from Abington, my sophomore year. He was probably the best. He was just so quick, and he was a good leader, too. You could tell he was the big dog on their team and everything. He was just so quick, a lot of shifty moves and everything. He was really good."
Q: As a defensive back, some guys like to bump and some like to play off. Obviously that's dictated by the coverage, but what is your mentality out there?
A: "When I play corner, I like to play bump and run, because I think my speed will be able to catch up with people. But I play safety now, and it's a lot of reading people and I have to read the tight end, whether he blocks down or whatever. I just kinda use my speed and go out and run people down. I don't try to make a bad angle, I just try to run people down with my speed, really."
Q: How do you get prepared for the game?
A: "In the morning, me and a couple friends go to a breakfast place up the street, Johnny D's. It's really good. Then after school, we go to Subway, we do the same thing every week. Then we come to the locker room and hang out with the guys, just get ready."
Q: Are you a guy that likes to get loose before games?
A: "Yeah, I don't get pumped up or anything. I just always laugh and giggle. I just do my own thing, I don't like to get pumped up."
Q: How do you go about relaxing?
A: "I just kinda listen to music, hang out with the guys. People are dancing in the locker room, doing whatever they gotta do, I just kinda hang out."
Q: What are the five bands playing most on your iPod right now?
A: "I'm on Pandora a lot, so I'd probably say Tyler the Creator -- he's pretty good -- Lil Wayne, Drake, all those guys, just playing on repeat. A lot of people on the team like him [Tyler], so I got kinda introduced to him. It's weird, I dunno, he's kinda funny to listen to (laughs)."
Q: What do you guys need to work on the rest of the season?
A: Just taking one game at a time, not overlooking anybody really. Just doing our own thing. Not trying to get too pumped up or anything, just play every week like it's our last and keep going."