Fair Lawn High School athletic director Cory Robinson said he's seen the number of multi-sport varsity athletes at the school dwindle in recent years as an increasing number of youth athletes opt to specialize in a single sport at an earlier age.
While three-sport athletes at the high school aren't unheard of, it's seldom that a student-athlete stars in all three of his sports.
"It’s rare today in high school sports that you see kids play three different sports and excel in all three of them," Robinson said. "That takes a lot of commitment, it takes a lot of hard work."
That's what makes seniors Kevin Osback and George Alexandris so exceptional, Robinson said. Both are three-sport athletes with the ability to continue their athletic pursuits in multiple sports at the collegiate level.
"Those are the type of kids that are the foundation of an athletic program," said Robinson, who called Osback and Alexandris role models for younger athletes. "Other kids will play a sport for a year or two and then stop playing in their junior and senior year and say they want to concentrate on other things, which isn’t the way George and Kevin operate. They made a commitment, they stuck to their commitment and they’re fulfilling it all the way through."
Osback and Alexandris, just removed from the football field where they formed the Cutters' version of Steve Young to Jerry Rice, are now in the midst of winter track season. In the spring, Osback plays lacrosse -- he was named third-team All-Bergen County last year -- and Alexandris runs track -- he took first-team All-League honors in the long jump as a junior.
"Playing multiple sports makes you a better athlete in general," Osback said, explaining his decision to endure the grind of football in the fall, track in the winter and lacrosse in the spring. "It keeps you in shape year round."
Alexandris attributed some of his success in the long jump last year to his football season workouts because both stress explosivity, but said bulking up during football season can have its drawbacks.
"He was The Hulk at one point," Alexandris chuckled, nodding at his quarterback.
"The winter of my junior year I gained like 25 pounds for track," Osback explained. "I was doing long jump and I was just not getting where I was supposed to be getting because of the extra weight."
The pair, who have started both ways for the football team the past two seasons, really began to develop their on-field chemistry late last season.
After spending the summer working together on routes, Osback and Alexandris came out firing this fall.
"I know how he plays, he knows how I play," Osback said of his leading target, who hauled in 29 catches for 493 yards and five touchdowns this season.
As tough to cover as the 6-foot tall Alexandris has been, he might actually be better at doing the covering. The Cutters' shutdown cornerback intercepted eight passes in the team's 10 games this year and said he actually prefers to play on the defensive side of the ball.
While he hasn't received any college offers yet, Alexandris said he'd love the opportunity to play football at the next level.
"I’m open to play anything -- offense or defense or even special teams if I could just get on the field," he said. "Before the season started I really liked track more, but by the end of the season, honestly, I think football is up there now."
Osback was similarly higher on lacrosse prior to football season, but now also prefers the gridiron.
He's been talking to coaches at Monmouth University and the Unviersity of New Haven, but said he's still open to other opportunities. Like Alexandris, Osback also excelled as a cornerback for the Cutters this year, but he'd prefer to have the ball in his hands in college. He's being recruited primarily as an athlete, meaning he could play quarterback, wide receiver or in a slotback role in the future.
Their football coach, Amir Saadah, said both Osback and Alexandris possess a unique combination of size, speed, strength and toughness that give them a great chance of playing at the next level.
Even if football doesn't work out for either, as three-sport stars, Osback and Alexandris have backup options.
"There will definitely be an opportunity for them to play in college, whether it's football or something else," Robinson said. "And that's what you want to see. You want to see your top kids go on to play in college."