Chris Leonard

Chris Leonard (’97)

Chris Leonard was an outstanding multi-sport athlete, being a First Team, All Group, All-State quarterback and being a Second Team, All-County shortstop.

Chris was an incredibly outstanding option quarterback, being both a  great passer and a great runner. 

As a sophomore, Chris was a starting wide receiver and defensive back on the 1994 football team that had an 8-1 regular season record (including a 23-22 victory over Group 4 Passaic Tech) and was B-PSL Carpenter League Champion. He scored touchdowns as a receiver, as a punt returner and as a defender (on an interception return); he also threw for a touchdown in that victory over Passaic Tech. Unfortunately, in the subsequent Group 1, Sectional Playoffs, the Panthers lost to (the ultimate Sectional Champion) Hasbrouck Heights by the margin of a field goal, 16-13.

After the graduation of fellow Hall of Fame inductee Justin Schwartz (GRHS 1995), Chris became the football team’s starting quarterback in his junior and senior years (while still often playing defensive back).

As a junior, Chris led the 1995 football team to an undefeated 9-0 regular season record and a repeat B-PSL Carpenter League Championship. In the subsequent Group 2, Sectional Playoffs, the team defeated Westwood by a score of 27-0 before losing to (the ultimate Sectional Champion) Ridgefield Park by the margin of a field goal,16-13, in the Sectional Semifinal. During that 10-1 season, Chris accounted for 2,986 all-purpose yards and 33 touchdowns, having passed for 17 touchdowns, having rushed for 13 touchdowns, having caught 1 pass for a touchdown, and having returned 2 of his 8 interceptions for touchdowns. He also kicked 12 extra points and ran for 14 two-point conversions. Chris was named to the Second Team, All-Group, All-State and to the First Team, All-County (by The Bergen Record).

As a senior, Chris led the 1996 football team to one of the school’s most successful seasons. Once again, the Panthers were undefeated in regular season play (9-0) and were B-PSL Carpenter League Champions. In the Group 1, Sectional Playoffs, they defeated Becton by a score of 69-13 and then shutout Secaucus by a score of 21-0 in the rain and on a mud soaked home field to win the Sectional Championship.  

With an 11-0 record, the 1996 football team was the first team since the 1960 team to end its season undefeated. It averaged 38.18 points per game while allowing only 5.82 points per game for an average margin of victory of 28.09 points per game – all of these are among the best in school history. Chris ended the season with 4,246 all-purpose yards and 42 touchdowns, having passed for 25 touchdowns, having rushed for 16 touchdowns (and having gained 14.4 yards per carry), and having returned 1 punt for a touchdown. He also ran for 2 two-point conversions. Chris was named to the First Team, All-Group, All-State and to the First Team, All-County. He also received Honorable Mention for USA Today/Parade Magazine’s All-America team.

Chris graduated from Glen Rock with the then-school records in passing, rushing and scoring.

In 2000, Chris received Honorable Mention for the Bergen County, All-Century football team.

Chris was also a superb baseball player. A three year starting shortstop, he was a great fielder with an excellent arm. He also was one of the team’s leading hitters, with a batting average over .450 in each of those three years. In addition to hitting for average, he was an outstanding clutch hitter and a top baserunner. As a junior, Chris was named to the Second Team, All-County (having received Honorable Mention as a sophomore).

As a senior, Chris batted .492 and helped lead Glen Rock to one of its most successful seasons. After winning the B-PSL King Championship, they defeated Emerson 4-3 in extra innings and then Secaucus 6-4 to win the Group 1, Sectional Championship. They then defeated North Warren 10-7 to win the North Jersey Championship before unfortunately losing to defending champion Riverside in the Group 1, State Championship game. At the end of the season, Chris was named to the Third Team, All-County.

In June 1997, the administration and coaches of Glen Rock High School recognized Chris as the top male athlete in that year’s graduating class and gave him the esteemed Athlete of the Year Award.