CHATHAM, NJ - Ryan McArthur went up to Chatham defensive coordinator Evan Picariello after Saturday's Cougar football game against Millburn and apologized to him.
"He came up to me after the game, and said 'Coach, I'm sorry.'," Picariello said. "He's one of those guys who is not afraid to take the blame. He was apologizing for the unit as a whole."
A team captain, McArthur felt he was partly responsible for the points the Chatham defense surrendered in the loss to undefeated Millburn, but it's hard to imagine that the senior outside linebacker could have done much more to impact the game.
McArthur thwarted Millburn's first drive of the game by intercepting a pass in the end zone. He followed by blocking a field goal attempt and an extra-point kick and finished the game with seven tackles, one for a loss of yards. That adds up to 10 points he kept Millburn from scoring all by himself.
In addition, he provided the final block on special teams that assured no one would catch Cougar teammate Peter Schelling on his way to a 95-yard kickoff return at the start the second half.
Ryan McArthur is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.
McArthur's athleticism makes him a valuable asset to the Chatham defense, where he mans the Sam linebacker spot.
"He's one of those hybrid-type players who is a cross between a safety and a linebacker; strong enough to set the edge on the run, but fast enough and athletic enough to cover somebody in space," Picariello said. "It's a hard position to play, for sure. He's asked to do a lot of things. He's asked to play on the line versus the tight end. He's asked to cover people man-to-man and he's also asked to set the edge on any runs plays outside."
In addition to Chatham coaches Picariello and head coach Dan Czepiga, McArthur expects to hear a critique after games from one of his long-time coaches, his father, Tom.
"As soon as he sees me, he tells me what I could have done better," McArthur said. "I look forward to hearing what he has to say because I always want to improve and get better. There are always little things you can learn."
The 5-10, 180-pound McArthur is interested in playing football in college, noting that he comes from a football-playing family that includes his grandfather, Howard, who started the youth football program in Old Tappan.
"I just love going out there and playing with all my friends," McArthur said. "It's a great team game."
Other than his father, who coached him for many years, McArthur credits his younger brother, Sean, for his drive to improve. Sean is a junior defensive back/wide receiver on the Chatham varsity.
"I wasn't always the fastest or strongest kid," McArthur said. "When I was in third or fourth grade, I was on the B and C teams. I had to work very hard to get faster and stronger. Sean was actually better than me when I was younger and I had a competition with him. I couldn't let him beat me."
Right now, Sean owns bragging rights as the fastest McArthur with a 4.5 40-yard dash time comparted to Ryan's 4.56, making him the second-fastest Cougar on the 2019 team.
"He beat me in the 40 and he talks trash about it," Ryan said.
Ryan McArthur intercepts Shane Sullivan's pass in the end zone vs. Millburn
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