Be it football or basic training, Somerset Berkley's Dylan Rodriguez knows the drill

·3 min read

SOMERSET — Dylan Rodriguez always wondered what an Army boot camp was all about.

His father served in the armed forces and became an officer.

This past summer, the Somerset Berkley senior running back made a big decision to see what it is like to serve in the military.

“I had thoughts of going into the military since my father retired as an officer in the Army, Rodriguez said. “It was a very impulsive decision to do it this past summer.”

Rodriguez spoke to his dad after seeing an ad in the newspaper. A week later, he signed the papers.

“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Rodriguez said. “It was the hardest 10 weeks of my life. I went through a lot of physical and mental stuff that a normal person would not go through within their lifetime. I’m glad that it is over and I’m playing football.”

Meet the team: Somerset Berkley Regional High School football

Rodriguez and his Raiders teammates will take the field for a Thanksgiving Day football game for the first time in two years on Thursday morning, when they host rival Case.

The coronavirus pandemic shut down fall football in 2020, canceling all turkey day games.

Dylan Rodriguez and the rest of the Somerset Berkley football team will face off against Case on Thanksgiving Day this year.
Dylan Rodriguez and the rest of the Somerset Berkley football team will face off against Case on Thanksgiving Day this year.

“Last year was a heartbreaker not to have that rivalry game,” Rodriguez said. “I tried to mention to my coach about having an Easter game, kind of like Thanksgiving Day game. The word never got through so thankfully I wasn’t a senior last year. I know it hurts some of the seniors I played with. I’m grateful because I have a Thanksgiving Day this year.”

So what was it like for Rodriguez at boot camp?

“It is a very strict and disciplined environment,” he said. “Waking up every day at 4:30 in the morning and going to bed at 9 p.m. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired or not, lights are going out. Anyone who gets caught leaving their bed, you’re getting screamed at and yelled at.”

Although it was an eye-opening experience for Rodriguez, he said it was worth it in the end.

“I did not like it at the moment but I learned a lot of discipline and life lessons I can use,” he said. “It did change me as a person to set up my future.”

Somerset Berkley running back Dylan Rodriguez breaks a tackle and scores a touchdown during the Fall II season against Seekonk.
Somerset Berkley running back Dylan Rodriguez breaks a tackle and scores a touchdown during the Fall II season against Seekonk.

SB is going into Thursday's contest with a 3-7 record.

The holiday game will be significant and meaningful for Rodriguez.

He attended Case middle school until the eighth grade before transferring to Somerset Berkley Regional School.

"It is a little more exciting for me, personally," Rodriguez said. "I grew up with all the kids from Case. To actually play against them and beat them up a little bit will be fun."

Rodriguez said he is committing to play football at Bridgewater State University next fall.

But first, he wants to finish his high school career in style against the Cardinals.

The turkey always tastes better on the winning side.

Thanksgiving Football: Somerset Berkley vs. Case

The matchup: Joseph Case High School (6-3) vs. Somerset Berkley (3-7)

Where: Somerset Berkley High School, Grandview Avenue, Somerset

When: Thursday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m.

Herald News and Taunton Daily Gazette sports editor Steven Sanchez can be reached at ssanchez@heraldnews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @Chezsports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

This article originally appeared on The Herald News: Football or basic training, SB's Dylan Rodriguez knows the drill