TOWNSEND -- Eminem's "Til I Collapse" is the song that bumps on North Middlesex senior running back Brandon Lambert's iPod while he prepares himself for Friday night's 44-minute battle. The ironic coincidence is that his favorite song suits his style of play.
"Before games I usually listen to rap music, something with a good beat that gets me ready to play, said Lambert. "I feel like I can always do better, and keep going." Lambert's work-ethic in the classroom and on the gridiron is unparalleled.
"You can see his leadership the most when he is on the field. He comes back to the huddle sometimes so out of breath and he is throwing up," said senior offensive lineman Chris Tucker. "I respect that in his qualities -- he just keeps on going."
He credits his humble approach to life to his parents, Suzanne and Bob Lambert. "They taught me to be a good kid. Work hard and always try your hardest, and good things will happen to you," said Lambert.
Lambert competes in indoor track in the winter months, and lacrosse in the spring. Lacrosse is a sport that has helped Lambert transition from football player to all-around athlete. Assistant football coach and head lacrosse coach Paul Giaccobbe commented on how lacrosse has improved Lambert's athleticism.
"Immediately I told Brandon when I met him as a freshman that he should play lacrosse. Lacrosse has helped him with his hand-eye coordination a bit as he went on through the years," said Giaccobee. "His catching is far better than what it was as a freshman. He could run, he was an athlete, but he really didn't know how to play the game of football, and I think lacrosse helped him with that."
In lacrosse, strong stick skills are crucial. Lambert keeps the stick close to his body in the spring. In the fall it's the football, and his lighting quick jukes are dazzling to the eye. Lambert's fondest memory of his four-year career came last season, when he returned the opening kickoff 88-yards for a touchdown in the Patriots' opener against Doherty.
The roar of the always loud and proud Patriots contingent pushes Lambert and the rest of the North Middlesex football team to success each night. Lambert believes that the program is finally turning the corner. "NM has a rich history of winning Super Bowls. In the past few years it has been kind of down," said Lambert. "You've seen in school, the kids give up on the football team. This year the school is behind us. Everyone knows we have a chance to win every game."
Lambert is quickly approaching the 1,000-yard plateau. Seven games into the season, he has 96 carries totaling 694 yards. Senior tackles Tucker and Daegan Gray have been paramount to the success Lambert has enjoyed this season. "When he breaks through the line, we love when he scores," said Tucker.
The Patriots have been rebuilding in recent years, and head coach Sandy Ruggles is happy to have Lambert as a key component to their success. Ruggles describes Lambert's playing style as an "internal ticking time-bomb. Lambert has been one of the architects in the rebuilding process here at North Middlesex in his three-years as a varsity player," said Ruggles. "As a coach, he is a great reflection on North Middlesex High Schools."
The general consensus on Lambert is that he is a nice guy and a hard-worker, but don't ever utter the old "nice guys finish last" adage.
Lambert is used frequently on defense as a shutdown defensive back. His athleticism and versatility helps to give the Patriots an added weapon on the other side of the ball. Lambert breathes like a locomotive screaming down the tracks. When you see a locomotive powering down the tracks, you get out of the way. The same is true for tacklers: If you hear Lambert's steam engine firing, get out of his path, or he will acquaint you with the turf.
Running back coach Ken Wrobel commented on Lambert's work ethic in the classroom. "We were giving him a hard time this year. This is the first time he has ever got two Bs in a quarter," said Wrobel. "He made a mistake in practice yesterday, and I said that looks like a mistake that a two-B student would make, and everyone laughed."
Like many athletes, Lambert has a rather uncommon pregame meal that he enjoys. So what's Lambert's secret weapon? Beef stew. North Middlesex fans, players and coaches make sure Lambert has a heaping portion of the magic food, and he will be sure to treat you to an electrifying performance on game night.