Tom Sharkey had just won his first game as a Wayne Hills quarterback, on Sept. 7, 2018, as the Patriots rallied past Wayne Valley, 14-3, in a hard-fought game.
Twelve hours later, Sharkey and offensive coordinator John Jacob were sitting in a classroom, going over good points, and mistakes, of the senior’s first varsity home game at Wayne Hills.
Tom Sharkey and Wayne Hills offensive coordinator John Jacob doing classroom work on Sept. 8, 2018, a day after a win over Wayne Valley. (Click on photo for larger image)
“I’ve been around a lot of good players, but Tom Sharkey is really special,” recalled Jacob of that meeting in the early morning hours of Sept. 8. “He wanted to know what he needed to do to get better. It was a burning desire. You could see it in his eyes. The grit, toughness, determination and intensity. He has it all.”
Sharkey, the son of Debbie and Tom Sharkey, Sr., had transferred to Wayne Hills late in his junior year and would go on to a marvelous senior campaign. He threw for 2,413 yards and 33 touchdown passes, as well as a 125.6 quarterback rating, as the Patriots went on to a tenth state sectional championship and eventual Bowl game victory, at MetLife Stadium, and an 11-2 record. In his final high school game at MetLife, Sharkey completed 14 of 21 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Sharkey’s 2,413 yards passing last fall eclipsed Brendan DeVera’s team-record 2,221 yards, which was set in 2016.
The 6’1″, 185-pound Sharkey, also a top student, announced his college choice on Feb. 1 and signed his letter of intent at Wayne Hills on the morning of Feb. 6.
“I’ve committed to Kutztown University,” said Sharkey. “I was honored to receive eight offers over a 10-day period, and in the end, Kutztown was perfect. I fell in love with the program when I took my official visit. The coaches, the players, the campus, everything was right.”
Located in Kutztown, Pa., Kutztown University is an NCAA Division 2 school. In 2018, the Golden Bears finished 9-2 and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
Jacob, Hills’ offensive coordinator, feels Kutztown is an excellent choice for Sharkey.
“That will be an equitable partnership,” said Jacob. “Tom will thrive there. Kutztown has an outstanding program and plays a tremendous schedule. Tom’s work ethic and diligence will go a long way. This is a kid that took every drill in practice and made it his passion to get better, each day. Believe me, that says a lot.”
Sharkey appreciated his work with the Wayne Hills coaching staff.
Tom, with his parents Debbie and Tom Sr. He’s keeping the same colors in college. (Click on photos for larger image)
“A quarterback and coordinator have to work well together, and I can’t thank Coach Jakes enough,” said Sharkey. “He taught me so much, in one year. And that goes for the entire staff at Hills. I transferred here as a junior and had (head coach Wayne) Dem (Demikoff) as a teacher when I got here. And then I had the chance to play for him and I am so grateful. I wish I had more than one year with them, but I’m so glad it turned out the way it did. Being a part of a state championship team and then winning that bowl game at MetLife was unbelievable.
“It’s amazing how this team came together as the season continued. We really became a close-knit unit, and by the time playoffs began, we really felt no one could beat us. That’s because everyone bought in to the team concept. What a great group of guys to be around.”
Sharkey noted how quickly he was taken in by the players at Hills.
Sharkey was always a ‘heads up’ player at Hills. (Click on photo for larger image)
“From the first day I got to Wayne Hills, the players embraced me and made me feel at home,” he said. “I got the chance to play for a top program and this is why I’m moving on to play at Kutztown. Being a part of this program will make me a better player in college, too.”
Tom’s close family bond is also special.
Sharkey and Wayne Hills head coach Wayne Demikoff at the signing ceremonies, on Feb. 6. (Click on photo for larger image)
“My mom and dad are incredible,” said Sharkey, who plans to major in business management, or finance. “They’ve always been there for me. I know they’re excited about my choice, too. I’d like to get up to about 195 to 200 pounds when I play in college, so I’m sure my mother will enjoy helping me with that.”
With the college decision completed, Sharkey can enjoy the remainder of high school.
“No doubt, I’m glad it’s wrapped up,” he said. “This has been the best year of my life, and I couldn’t be happier.”