And in his spare time, Purdue’s student body president plays QB

Matt Kryger/IndyStar

And in his spare time, Purdue’s student body president plays QB


And in his spare time, Purdue’s student body president plays QB

INDIANAPOLIS – The shock, all these years later, is that his final pass into the end zone fell incomplete, glancing off his receiver’s hand and onto the turf at Lucas Oil Stadium. The surprise, even now, especially now, is that the furious comeback in the 2013 Class 3A championship game fell short. Because winners win. It’s what they do, who they are: metronomes of droning, deliberate triumph.

Brebeuf fans, you remember Aaron Banks. He was the quarterback on that 2013 team that did things Brebeuf had never done before, and Brebeuf had been around for more than a half-century. Founded in 1962, Brebeuf had never won a sectional in football until that 2013 season when Aaron Banks transferred in from North Central and led the Braves all the way to the 2013 title game, where …

Well, hang on. Let’s come back to that. Because right now, you need to know what became of Aaron Banks. Spoiler alert: Winners win.

And Banks, who turned down football scholarships to smaller schools to walk on at Purdue – he wanted to major in engineering, and there’s not a better engineering program around than the one in West Lafayette – is coming off the biggest individual victory of his life earlier this week: The election for Purdue student government president.

Aaron Banks, president … sounds about right to anyone who’s ever known him. Winners win. And presidents, they’re presidential. And from the moment he showed up at Brebeuf, arriving at about the same time in 2013 as new football coach Mic Roessler, Banks has carried himself as such.

“It was the middle of June,” is how Roessler starts this story …

… and I’m going to fill in some blanks first, OK? Roessler had just been hired from Cathedral, where he’d been an assistant for 12 years. Roessler knew that 2013 Brebeuf team needed a quarterback. He’d heard about the transfer from North Central. Tall kid, basketball player, had played some varsity quarterback for North Central in 2012 before suffering a broken wrist. Roessler heard Aaron Banks was transferring in, but hadn’t actually seen him.

And then, this happened:

“It was the middle of June,” is how Roessler started this story from 2013, remember? “I’m passing out equipment. I look up, and it’s Aaron. Big grin on his face that says: ‘I’m here and ready to play.’ I was taken aback by him. The look on his face was: He’s ready to get busy. He believed in me and I believed in him. It was instant. It was weird, in a very good way.”

With Banks passing for more than 2,000 yards, Brebeuf goes 6-3 in the regular season and wins five playoff games. Nobody comes within 21 points of the Braves until the state title game, when Andrean jumps them for a 21-0 lead. Aaron Banks gathers the team and says something along these lines:

We’re not done yet.

By the end of the fourth quarter Brebeuf is within eight points, 35-27, and Banks has the 3A championship game record with 268 passing yards, but he needs 21 more.Final play, Brebeuf on the Andrean 21. Banks is chased from the pocket and has to unload it toward receiver Chandler Grau in the end zone. The pass is thrown in the right spot, but Andrean’s pressure forced it out a split-second too soon. As Grau is turning for the back-shoulder pass, it’s another split-second he needs to get two hands on the ball. The ball hits one hand and falls incomplete.

Afterward Banks is taking the blame for a play where there is no blame to assign, just good Andrean defense.

“Aaron’s a very tall, broad young man, and his shoulders were holding our burden of failure,” Roessler says. “He was standing strong – Simon Banks, his younger brother who will be senior (safety) next year, has the same pride – but he was going to hold himself together and continue on being that good positive leader.”

Read more in the Indianapolis Star

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