Will Conaty is making a name for himself while enjoying having his famous father on the sidelines this season.
The rising senior for the Moorestown High School football team is starting for the first time in his career – and at two positions for coach Beau Sherry. He is the starting center and outside linebacker for the undefeated Quakers after playing junior varsity last season.
And, Conaty is emerging as a two-way standout with his father, Bill, helping out for the first time this season as a coach.
“I remember I went over and hugged him, it was really special and we can talk about that years later,” Will Conaty said about sharing the Quakers 15-7 win at Seneca Friday with his dad.
Bill Conaty, an athletic and heady center, played nine seasons in the NFL with the Bills, Vikings, Cowboys and Cardinals.
“I’ve been around the team this season and it has been a lot of fun,” Bill said. “A lot of the kids I have known since they were 6-or-7 years old, they are great kids.
“They all come up after practice and shake the coaches hands. The kids are so respectful and nice.”
They are also really good.
In its opener, Moorestown bounced Cumberland 30-6.
“As a team we haven’t gone 2-0 since 2012, so it gives us confidence going into Highland, which will be our toughest game of the season to date,” Will Conaty said.
The Quakers are home the next three weeks with games against the talented Tartans, Northern Burlington and Woodrow Wilson, ranked No. 4 in the latest South Jersey Sports Digest Top Ten.
Moorestown qualified for the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs last year as the seventh-seed, however lost in the first round 48-3 to Allentown.
“It’s great to see him succeeding and for me to be a part of it,” Bill said.
Will is now a sturdy 6-1 ½ and 195 pounds. He has packed on height and size over the last year. His father, who played in the NFL at 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, also grew late at Camden Catholic. He played on the Irish freshman basketball team at 5-foot-9 and played his senior year in football at 240 pounds.
So the younger Conaty is coming into his own now.
“This year starting, starting both ways, it’s exciting,” Will said.
When he was younger, Will would be reminded by his friends and their parents of his father’s playing in the NFL
“Here and there people would say that I’d probably get big and huge and play in NFL, but I grew late and I’m still not that big,” he said. “But I didn’t’ feel pressure, my dad never even put pressure on me to play football.
“I actually like lacrosse the best.”
“I didn’t want to be that dad pushing him,” Bill said.
Bill helps out Moorestown offensive line coach Stu Lynch, saying, “He is a great guy and coach.”
“A lot of my teammates I’m good friends with and I’ve known for awhile and during our youth days he would help us, correct our mistakes,” Will said about his father.
“Playing in the NFL it is all about analyzing what you did wrong and then to fix it,” Bill said. “You fix it by changing your technique.
“I would try to give him the tools to succeed,” Bill added about tips he would pass on to his son when he was younger.
Late in his NFL playing career, Conaty thought about getting into coaching on the pro level. However, he recalled a conversation with Bill Parcells while in Dallas and the Cowboys coach encouraged him to do what he really wanted to do and not coach football only because he was around the game his entire life.
So Conaty went to law school at Rutgers-Camden. He initially started practicing law before joining Eastern Athletic Services (EAS) as a contract advisor.
“I work for the guys who represented me,” Billy said about EAS, which is a full service sports representation and management company based in Maryland.
Former Overbrook star cornerback Eddie Johnson and St. Joseph Hammonton star quarterback, Rich Rosa, who both played at Penn State, work for EAS, too.
Conaty’s job demands a lot of travel, but he is able to make a few practices during the week and the games.
“It is fun, he helps give us tips, as a coach it is nothing but help for the team,” Will said.
The elder Conaty was a four-year starter for Virginia Tech, starting a then-record 48 straight games for the Hokies. He was a two-time all-Big East selection and was named first-team Sporting News All-American as a senior captain before playing his first five NFL seasons in Buffalo.
Bill was used to spending all days in meetings and practices in the NFL, so he is impressed with the knowledge level of the high school players, who have class all day.
“I’m surprised how much the kids know considering how little time the coaches get to spend with them,” Bill said.
Conaty and his wife, Denise, who also graduated from Virginia Tech, have two daughters, Devin, who is a sophomore at Moorestown and plays basketball, lacrosse and volleyball, and Faith, a 7th grader, who plays soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
“I tell them to enjoy their time playing sports,” Bill said.
Truly, it’s so good to see Bill and his son Will enjoying what is pointing to a special season for both together.