Tyler Staggs-Burgess is a freak of nature as a multi-sport athlete at Bunnell High.
He started out as a football player before giving up the game and focusing on basketball.
During his senior year, however, he made his way back to the Bulldogs gridiron and became a difference-maker for the Bunnell football program.
It is on the basketball court, though, where Stagg-Burgess still shines the brightest and the senior is helping his team overcome some key losses this season as the Bulldogs look to defend their SWC championship.
Bunnell might be only 2-3 heading into Monday’s intra-town showdown with Stratford, but those three losses have come by a total of seven points, so the Bulldogs could easily be undefeated, as well.
Last week, Staggs-Burgess went “On the Record” with the Stratford Sports Scene to talk about his return to football, the present-day hoops season and more.
STRATFORD SPORTS SCENE: What’s the best thing about Bunnell High School?
TSB: The sports. Yeah, the sports. That’s the best part.
SSS: If you could change one thing about the school, what would it be?
TSB: I’ve got to think about that. Maybe allowing the athletes to get in some shots during their free time; come down to the gym, basically.
SSS: What teacher or coach has had the biggest impact on you so far in your career?
TSB: Can I Do both? First, the teacher would be Michael Piroh. He was my social studies teacher and he really helped me decide where I want to go in the future. And, as far as a coach goes, it’s got to be (BHS football coach) Ty Jenkins, who believed in me and he’s a big reason why I was able to be successful in my first year back playing football.
SSS: It’s been a season of close losses for your guys on the basketball court, so far. How are those losses going to pay off in the future?
TSB: I think, in the long run, it’s going to pay off because we’re going to learn. Coach Danny (Powell) is a big help and he’s hard on us, but we work on those late-game situations and how to control the ball control our pace and place basketball.
SSS: Bunnell lost junior transfer Maximus Edwards to a prep school. How is the team handling having all the new people in new positions this winter?
TSB: Over time, we’re going to keep getting better. A lot of people think Bunnell won’t be as good as last year, but I think we can be better than last year once we all come together and play the sport the way it’s supposed to be played. This is season is going to start going a lot better.
SSS: How did you wind up becoming a basketball player?
TSB: When I was younger, I played football but I quit and focused on basketball. But all the seniors that I play basketball with are my best friends. Max, Jaden McDowell, all of them. We’ve done this all together. The only person we’re missing now is Max.
SSS: How did you wind up back on the football field this fall then?
TSB: I gave it up going into my fourth-grade year, but at the beg of my freshman year, I wanted to play football, but I was too late. My sophomore year, I focused on just basketball because I was going to become a starter. My junior year, I thought about transferring to Notre Dame-Fairfield, but it didn’t work out, so I was just always trying to come out late. (Bunnell football player) CJ Newton is one of my best friends, we grew up together, and he face-timed me one day and said, “Come play football.” Coach Ty got on and said I should come to lifting. I played some 7-on-7 (in the summer) was I was good at it. I was raw, I was a prospect, but I got better every single day.
SSS: What does the Stratford-Bunnell rivalry mean to you?
TSB: The rivalry is big for me because everybody comes together. The community is always out there to support us and that’s the main focus.
SSS: The holiday season just wrapped up. What was your favorite Christmas gift?
TSB: Actually, my mom got me this basketball with this special quote on it—something she said. I wish I could remember exactly what it says. It was something special to me.
SSS: Did you make a New Year’s resolution?
TSB: My New Year’s Resolution is just to go out there and win more games, and just be a better person than I was last year. I want to get rid of the old bad traits and focus on being a better person.
SSS: What scares you?
TSB: Being mediocre and going to work every day and doing something I don’t like to do.
SSS: What is the go-to, pump-up jam that you listen to before a game?
TSB: My go-to song is Bring ‘Em Out, by Young Boy. It gets me going. You know how you get in that zone, you smell that dirt and you know it’s go time.
SSS: If you had one do-over in your life, what would you do over?
TSB: Yeah, football. I’d want to play football the whole time. I regret not doing that.
SSS: What’s your perfect breakfast?
TSB: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage.
SSS: The ideal midnight snack?
TSB: If you know me, you know I’ll eat at midnight and it’s dinner. Whatever is in the fridge is my midnight snack.
SSS: And, your favorite home-cooked meal?
TSB: Has to be pasta. I have to have my pasta. Always have some kind of salad, too. I love Caesar salad. And a big glass of water.
SSS: Hollywood is making a movie of your life. What’s the title and who stars as you?
TSB: It has to be somebody that knows me. He’s one of my best friends, this kid named Kyle Robinson. He plays basketball at Stratford. He would star as me. I know you’d think it would be somebody famous, but it’s to be somebody how knows me. And the title would be, “The Journey.”
SSS: What one word best describes Tyler Stagg-Burgess?
THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY