Brookfield East's Sam Santiago-Lloyd named Now All-Suburban Football Player of the Year

Running back led Spartans on both sides of the ball

Running back Sam Santiago-Lloyd of Brookfield East was named the Now All-Suburban Player of the Year. Photo by Dave Haberkorn.

Dec. 8, 2015

Brookfield junior Sam Santiago-Loyd has been referred to by coaches and the media by several names — a demolition derby car, a battering ram, Thunder and the Hulk.

But the best way to describe him is actually pretty simple: football player.

Listen to East coach Tom Swittel talk about Santiago-Lloyd, this year's unanimous choice for the Now All-Suburban Player of the Year honors.

"He is a battering ram type of running back unlike any I have seen in my 37 years of coaching," he said. "Sam is the most dominating football player I saw this entire season, either live or on film, and that includes all of our playoff opponents."

Four times (55, 53, 53, 52) he ran for 50-plus yards for a TD and three times over 40-plus (49, 44, 44) for a score. That's seven touchdowns of 44 to 55 yards.

And most of the time, Santiago-Lloyd took his 5-foot-10-inch, 235-pound frame and smashed head on into the center of the defense. He moved the pile for 3-5 yards and then exploded out of the hill of bodies, like the Hulk emerging from beneath a demolished building, and raced for the score, leaving a shocked and beaten defense in his dust.

"I'm getting faster," Santiago-Lloyd said, laughing. "I do not want to get caught from behind; once I hit the line, I'm off to the races.

Homestead's Dave Keel, Now All-Suburban Coach of the Year, had some high praise for Santiago-Lloyd after the Highlanders beat East, 35-25, in a Level 3 playoff game.

"He's as good as we've seen," Keel said of Sam, who rushed 41 times for 271 yards and two scores against his team. "He's the real deal. He really is a good running back. I was very impressed with him up close and personal."

Santiago-Lloyd also came up with a first, as he was named the Greater Metro Conference Player of the Year in two areas — Offensive Back of the Year and Defensive Back of the Year. No GMC player had ever earned both of those awards.

Sam was named to the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State Team first team at both running back and linebacker and also made WFCA All Region at both positions and was the top vote-getter in each. He made first-team Associated Press All-State on defense and second-team on offense.

Not surprisingly, the big guy prefers running back but enjoys defense for obvious reasons.

"As a running back, I'm more in control of the game; I have the ball in my hand," he said. "But (on defense) I like hitting people, delivering the hit instead of taking the hit."

He tied for the conference lead in interceptions (four, one returned for a touchdown) and also had seven tackles for losses and 2.5 sacks on the regular season. He had 33 solo, 41 assisted and 74 total tackles.

"On defense when he gets his hands on you, you are tackled," Swittel said. "He does everything well on defense."

Showing his agility, Santiago-Lloyd made a memorable play in the Spartans' big win over Marquette.

Playing in the left flat, he saw the running back sneak over the middle, and no one picked him up. As the quarterback launched the pass, Sam slid over to the middle of the field, reached up and intercepted the pass with an over-the-shoulder, one-handed catch.

Overall, he was happy with his performance, but he spreads around the wealth.

"Our offensive line was really good this season, led by our seniors (Mike Caliendo, Drew Rakers)," he said. "They were good as a unit."

Santiago-Lloyd, who saw both his freshman (broken collarbone) and sophomore (ankle) seasons cut short because of injuries, showed what he can do when given the opportunity.

"It feels good to work hard and see it pays off," he said. "It was nice to play a full season."

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