Playing football was among the things Adam Becker loved to do while growing up in Illinois.
But so was baseball and increasingly as he got older – hockey.
The Belvidere, Ill., native was a member of the Rockford Icemen – a combined team with players from Boylan Catholic, Rockford Lutheran, Harlem and Honengah highs – as a senior at Boylan Catholic. Before that, he played for the Rock County Raptors, a Midget AA-varsity major team.
“It’s an 18-under and not high school related, so anybody from any school could play and you get more games in,” Becker said.
The sport that once was third had moved up on his list: “Things were getting a little intense and I started picking up hockey, and baseball kind of faded away from me at that point.”
So how did the Midwestern teen wind up as a tight end at Fresno City College? A double dose of good fortune for the state 14th-ranked Rams (1-1), who visit No. 17 San Mateo (1-1) on Saturday.
After dabbling in juniors hockey, a key midpoint for many players on their way to the NHL, Becker decided his college future rested in football. When interest from Wake Forest faded, Fresno City was there with an invitation.
“We were needing some tight ends,” coach Tony Caviglia said. “Adam emailed us and wanted us to look at his film, and he was long and tall. One film was hockey and the other film is football.”
Playing goalie was a rush and it was a little intense.
Fresno City tight end Adam Becker on his high school hockey-playing days in Illinois
He was a wide receiver last season but seems to have found a better fit in 2016. Offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Vince Branstetter switched Becker back and he scored a touchdown in the opener against Sierra while finishing with 51 yards on three receptions.
“Came from a really strong hockey community,” Caviglia said, “and is a good hockey/football player.”
That was obvious from his hockey film and his accomplishments as a teen. Becker moved to goalie following his sophomore year and in his senior season made 35 starts for the Icemen and in the playoffs had a .963 save percentage. After graduation, Becker signed a non-paying contract with the Crystal Lake Rampage of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
As one might expect from a player who still had football as an option, and who packed 230 pounds on a 6-foot-5 frame, he became a forward in juniors.
Came from a really strong hockey community and is a good hockey/football player.
Fresno City football coach Tony Caviglia on Becker’s dual-sport talents
“I was taking on the enforcer role,” said Becker, who still has his contract tucked away in a shoe box back in Illinois “so I can show my grand kids one day.”
He frequently visits Gateway Ice Center and will let his mind wander back to his days on the ice when he sees banners trumpeting the Fresno Monsters of the Western States Hockey League.
“Met some of my best friends playing hockey, guys you bond with your whole life,” Becker said. “I really enjoyed it.”