LACROSSE: Raba staying loyal to Loyola, formal signing looms

LACROSSE: Raba staying loyal to Loyola, formal signing looms

Record-Journal


CHESHIRE — Jack Raba decided shortly into his freshman year at Cheshire High that he would play Division I lacrosse at Loyola University in Maryland. Now about to enter his senior year, Raba will make that commitment final this fall.

Raba, 17, was among the scoring leaders on the boys lacrosse team that went to the Class L finals in June. He also has been Cheshire’s starting quarterback on the gridiron since his sophomore year and will continue to man that post heading into the season.

“Playing Division I lacrosse is something I always wanted to do,” Raba said this week. “I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I gave a verbal commitment a week after my freshman year ended. It’s a little earlier than a lot of kids. It was unique, but I thought it was cool at the time.

“Since I gave my commitment, I’ve had no second thoughts about going anywhere else. This was the place I wanted to be.”

Loyola-Maryland is in the Patriot League. It won the national championship in 2012.

Before deciding on Loyola, Raba visited Providence, Penn State and the University of Virginia.

Raba said he loves both football and lacrosse, but added that he has had a lacrosse stick in his hands for as long as he can remember.

“My dad’s a college lacrosse coach and I’ve been around the sport for a while. Since I could walk I had a stick in my hand. He also coached college football too. I gravitate toward lacrosse and football whatever season I’m in. I’m so fired up to get this football season going. That’s how I feel about lacrosse season, too.”

Jack’s father, John Raba, is the head men’s lacrosse coach at Weselyan. John Raba also coached his son in youth football up to seventh grade.

Raba made an immediate impact in both sports at Cheshire. He was named the Rams’ starting quarterback for his sophomore year. A torn ACL suffered in Week 9 that year cost him his lacrosse season that year.

Raba has played quarterback since fifth grade. He will serve as a captain for both football and lacrosse this year.

“Some great quarterbacks have come through Cheshire and to be the starting quarterback at this school is a great honor,” Raba said.

Over the past two seasons, Raba has started 18 games and thrown for 2,949 yards and 20 touchdowns. Cheshire’s all-time passing yards and touchdown marks are in sight. Gatorade Player of the Year Billy Ragone, Class of 2009, finished his career with 3,333 passing yards and 31 TDs.

Raba, who is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, is currently in football mode. He said that Cheshire won a 7-on-7 summer passing league that included 13 other schools. The final game was held this past Monday.

“It was a great way to end the summer, for sure,” Raba said. “This will be my last year playing football and I’ve been playing since I was in fourth grade. It should be fun. We have a lot of experience. We want to make a run at something but we are taking it one day at a time. We return nine starters on offense and eight on defense. We have plenty of experience coming back and we’ve experienced it all, including some tough losses and pulling out some tough wins. We’ve all kind of conquered together and that will only help us going forward.”

As far as lacrosse, the attacker is coming off a 107-point season on a team that was filled with college-bound players. Midfielder Ryan Lindsey is off to Vermont, defenseman Matt Federico is headed to Quinnipiac and attacker Sean Black is found for Merrimack. Returning senior attacker Tim Hoynes has garnered some Division I attention, but hasn’t made a decision yet.

“We want to build off the success we had this spring and get back to where we were,” Raba said. “We had a ton of talent. I was scoring because they were setting me up. Someone was always getting open, so I was able get it to them. I would have to credit my teammates for an individual success that I have had.”

In college, Raba said he is looking to study business.

Raba said he drew attention from schools at a young age while playing for his father’s club lacrosse team, the Connecticut Cardinals.

“During the eight-grade summer I played with a lot of talented players and I played in front of some college coaches in summer tournaments. Having a talented team brought the college coaches to the sidelines. That got my name out there and I went to different camps and got in front of as many coaches as I could.”

Raba is the son of John and Jennifer Raba and has a younger brother, 14-year-old Jay, who also plays lacrosse and football.

“Looking back on my career so far, I’m just blessed to have such good coaches and teammates to help me along the way through my recruiting process and support system at home with my family,” Raba said. “My family always is behind me and believed in me and also kept me level headed.

“Going forward, I’m really excited with what the future holds,” he added. “I’m looking forward to signing my letter of intent in the fall. My main focus is on my senior year and having the best senior year possible in football and lacrosse.”


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