Merrimack Valley quarterback Ivan Niyomugabo is in the High School Spotlight
This week in the High School Spotlight, it’s Ivan Niyomugabo. Ivan, the junior quarterback for the upstart Merrimack Valley football team, has shined this season and helped take a team from a 14-game losing streak to reaching the playoffs for the first time in the team’s 12-year history.
Ivan credits his teammates for the success, but he can’t do without chicken alfredo. Haven’t met him? Chances are you’ll be able to catch him at Buffalo Wild Wings chowing down on some mango habanero wings.
Concord Monitor: What’s keyed the team’s turnaround this year?
Ivan Niyomugabo: Definitely the attitude. There’s a way better attitude around here. There’s a good vibe. Kids are trying hard, kids are taking it more serious. And in the offseason, we had one goal and that was to turn around the program, so it’s definitely starting to pay off.
CM: You’re a big part of the team’s offense. How do you like it?
IN: I definitely, I think it’s nice. I get to make more options. Kind of make more plays than your typical
CM: If you could run the perfect play, would you pass the ball or would you run it?
IN: Probably definitely a pass. I like either rolling out or staying in the pocket and see someone take that one route and break a corner. I like putting it on a wide receiver’s hands and make plays too.
CM: How have your teammates helped you out this season?
IN: They definitely help me out a lot. I know when we go through film, they tell me key points I should work on. We’re a big family, so they tell me when I should run the ball, what’s a good read – stuff like that.
CM: How did you get your start playing football?
IN: I started when I was 7 years old down in Manchester – the Manchester Seahawks, actually. I started out at running back. I moved up here in third grade, and I’ve been playing football ever since.
CM: What’s one thing about playing football that would surprise people?
IN: Just definitely how exciting it can get. When you make that big play, you know, you’ve got that big atmosphere. Everyone’s watching and it’s always fun to make plays and have a good time.
CM: When you’re not on the football field, where can we find you?
IN: I’m definitely watching film or I like to support other (Merrimack Valley) teams, too. We’ve got a good fan base in our school sports system. And you can definitely find me at Buffalo Wild Wings, too.
CM: What’s your favorite class?
IN: I definitely like some international relations, history, future studies. Something, like, in this day and age.
IN: It’s probably got to be chicken alfredo. I . . . I just love chicken alfredo.
IN: Usually before a game I like to listen to . . . “Traumatized” by Meek Mill. It definitely gets me going.
IN: I’d say The Other Guys (starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg). It’s a wicked funny movie and it always just gets me in a good time.
CM: Do you have a shout-out for anyone?
IN: I could name my whole team right now, actually. But definitely a shout-out to (wide reciever) Cole Martin. He’s definitely improved since last season. Running back Tucker Byrd is also having a huge year. So we’ve definitely got playmakers on our team, and it’s been huge.
CM: Anyone else?
IN: Definitely know that MV has changed, and we like to make it a fact this year that we change history. We want to let everyone know in the state that we’re a football team to play with this year.