QB Strouss a big key to EA's turnaround

Posted: October 16, 2012

ADAM STROUSS does some of his best work when he's not wearing a football uniform.

And that's saying something, considering how terrific he has been this fall while steering Episcopal Academy to a 6-0 record.

As the quarterback, the 6-3, 190-pound senior is the key to the offense, which has posted most of the Churchmen's 253 points (42.2 average).

Key. That description's a good fit, because Strouss is extremely active in Episcopal's Key Club.

Roughly once a week, he speaks to prospective students - not just athletes - and/or their parents to extol EA's virtues. He even shows them around the magnificent campus, in Newtown Square, and answers questions.

Strouss views himself as being at least a shade outgoing, so putting himself in such a spotlight is not nerve-wracking.

When asked whether he has a spiel, he responded: "Not at all. But everything I say is the truth. Episcopal's a great place to be, and to play sports, and I'm proud to be an ambassador. The academic possibilities are a big reason I love it here."

The classwork/homework stuff has worked out pretty well for Strouss (rhymes with house). He is committed to Penn - hoping to enroll in the Wharton School - and the other top contender was Princeton.

"Yeah, Adam was really having trouble with that. Beating himself up over it," said Todd Fairlie, Episcopal's second-year coach.

He laughed. "I'd say to him, 'You have it so rough. Can't decide between Penn and Princeton.' "

This is only Strouss' third year at EA. Although he lives in Malvern and spent some grammar school time at St. Patrick, in that same borough, he began his high school education at Great Valley.

Episcopal's football squad went 2-8 overall in the season before Strouss' arrival. The 2010 campaign was also messy (2-7) and, despite better overall vibes, the '11 record was 3-7.

Strouss was the quarterback. Well, for half the season. He missed games 3 through 7 with a shattered right big toe.

"I kicked it against a step coming in from a game - accidentally, not in anger - and then I got stepped on in a practice," he said. "It reached the point where it was, 'Better get this X-rayed.' Missing so much time was devastating. We had such high hopes . . .

"In 10th grade, the team atmosphere wasn't good. People weren't getting along. I loved everybody in my grade, though, and I kind of knew great things would be coming."

Out of a shotgun formation, Strouss this season has completed 36 of 60 passes (60 percent) for 615 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also produced 479 yards and 10 TDs on 69 rushes.

The unit, as coordinated by Dave Gueriera, also includes halfback Ian Strain, fullback Cody Russell, slotback Anthony Perretti, wideout Quinn Hager, tight end Evan Butts, tackles Jack Florio and Dante Addona, guards Mike Watkins and Conner Longen, and center John Minnicozzi.

The supporters of the offense (and defense) are numerous.

"We're getting a lot more students and teachers out to the games," Strouss said. "The whole Episcopal community has really bought into this. People are excited for us.

"Lots of kids will come up to me and say, 'Good game the other night.' And I've met maybe four, five [lower-school] teachers who've just come up to me to introduce themslves, offer congratulations and say how much they're enjoying this."

When the Churchmen stormed to a 225-7 scoring advantage in their first five games, most observers remained only mildly impressed; the competition was not exactly stupendous. The Inter-Ac opener, however, offered a 28-7 muffling of Penn Charter, which has the league's best receiver, lineman and running back.

The rest of the schedule shows, in order, SCH Academy, Malvern Prep, Germantown Academy and Haverford School.

In that PC game, Strouss, who co-captains the football squad and will fill that same role with the basketball team, rushed for 183 yards and three TDs.

"Because Adam can pass, too, it's tough for opponents to load the box," Fairlie said.

Noted Strouss: "I guess I like running the ball the best. I played running back in middle school and I hadn't done that too much here. I've always liked scrambling. Designed runs are great, too . . . Not to take away from the passing game. I do like that."

Penn is projecting him as a safety or wideout. Hey, what about running back?

"I might talk to them a little," he quipped.

Just show 'em tapes. That could be key.

Contact Ted Silary at silaryt@phillynews.com.

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