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Tupa’s Son Inherits Brecksville Legacy

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Brecksville quarterback Tom Tupa, III looks to pick up where his dad left off.

The last time I set foot on the campus of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School for a regular season varsity football game was almost nine years ago. I joined several of my fellow classmates who graduated just four months earlier to watch the following Bees season’s homecoming game. I had not been to a game since.

This past weekend I was given a reason to finally return to watch my alma mater in action. His name was Tom Tupa, III. Does the name ring a bell? Avid football fans recognize the name and make the connection. Tupa, III is the son of former NFL quarterback-turned-Pro Bowl punter Tom Tupa, Jr. After research, I discovered the latter was in fact the junior of the two.

What fans outside of the town I spent most of my life in do  not know is the connection runs deeper. Tupa, Jr. is also a Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School alumnus. Twenty-seven years ago he led the Brecksville Bees to the division II state football championship.

Since that time, the school has had many excellent teams, winning a few championships in the now defunct Pioneer Conference. Players from my class rank either first or second on the school’s single season record list for rushing and passing yardage and receptions since 1993, all set our senior year. However, it has not come close to producing another state championship team.

Sophomore quarterbacks are not expected to carry their teams in their first years playing on the varsity team. While this is also true for Tupa, III, there are circumstances in place that suggest he is capable of the task. Not only does he have the family genes, but his father is also the Bees’ offensive coordinator.

The kid wasted no time in displaying his potential on opening night when he took Brecksville from a halftime deficit to a 21-17 comeback victory over rival North Royalton to claim possession of the golden boot the teams have fought over for decades.

After reading all the hype, I decided to return to Brecksville this past Friday night to witness firsthand exactly what Tupa, III can do. Another reason I decided to attend the game was because the defense Brecksville was facing in Medina was coached by my godfather. I was very interested in seeing what type of game plan my uncle came up with to combat the father-son Tupa combination.

The two Bees teams battled back and forth as the game was close at halftime. But then Medina made adjustments to both sides of its game. A strong rushing attack grounded the tempo of the game way down, allowing its defense to remain fresh and focus on Brecksville’s attempt at an air raid. The result was a 42-14 victory for Medina.

Tom Tupa, III performed as advertised. Rated the best drop-back quarterback in the country by two recruiting websites, Tupa looked extremely poised in the pocket and his passing was very crisp. Not only was he accurate, but he could throw the long ball as well, connecting on a 46-yard pass early in the game. What hurt him appeared to be his receivers. He suffered from dropped balls, tight Medina coverage, and an interception which was tipped by his own man. Yet, he still completed 15 of 24 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.

One can only speculate on what the future holds for Tom Tupa, III. After a solid first two weeks on varsity, he appears to be picking up right where his dad left off 27 years earlier. For the next three years, all eyes in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights school district will be on the youngster, hoping his career as the Bees’ quarterback will include a state championship as well.

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