Football facing adversity after several players hurt

The lack of key seniors takes its toll on the varsity football team’s record.


Gazette/ photo/MAX SCHWARTZ

Senior Chase Garmon (right) supports teammate Bryce Van Order during football game.

Max Schwartz

 As a football player, senior year is a time to leave it all on the field for a game you have played your whole life. But what if the end comes closer than expected?

  This season, Granite Bay football has suffered many season-ending injuries from their veteran senior players.

  Following last year’s section championship, the team came off to an unexpected start with a losing record.

  Jacob Ellis, a varsity captain for Granite Bay, had an injury early on in the year.

  “I had to play through a shoulder injury that happened in November and a surgery in March. There is a risk playing a game, I re-injured it in Jesuit and I missed two games because of it,” Ellis said.

  However, Ellis still is more fortunate than some players whose seasons remain in complete jeopardy.

  “I tore my scapula after my arm popped out of place and I am now in a sling for a couple of months waiting for it to heal,” Senior football player, Matt Solone said.

   From an ex GBHS player’s perspective, William Craig and current University of California Berkeley offensive lineman noted that the team’s record doesn’t reflect who they are.

  “It’s frustrating for me and I know it’s frustrating for them,” Craig said. “They are a talented group of kids, and they really have taken so many injuries but their record doesn’t show what they are capable of and much of that is due to the injuries,”

They are a talented group of kids, and they really have taken so many injuries but their record doesn’t show what they are capable of and much of that is due to the injuries,

— Will Craig (Granite Bay High School Alumni)

  Now a collegiate athlete, Craig views injuries in a different way.

  “The position I play it goes like this: if you get injured, the next guy goes in and depending on how he does determines the possibility that you lose your spot. If you can, you always want to be playing because you can lose your job so easily,” Craig said

  A major issue relating losing senior starters is that their replacements are often juniors who have very little experience on the varsity squad.

  “We play a very tough schedule (this year) and seniors are the ones who physically and emotionally are ready to play once the season starts. It takes the younger guys longer to adjust,” Head varsity coach Jeff Evans said. “The hard part is we play a lot of senior-heavy teams in our schedule and it’s noticeable,”

  This kind of situation isn’t brand new to veteran coach Evans.

  “In 2016 we had a lot of injuries to seniors and a lot of younger guys stepped in,” Evans said.

  The difficulties the 2016 team had to endure did lead to a better situation for the 2017 season.      Due to current juniors stepping up and playing in place of injured seniors, similar to the 2016 team, project how next year will go.

  “The payoff was that they won a  section championship the next year. The good thing about this situation is the younger guys will be ready to step up,”

  In 2016 however, the team handled the losses in a worse way.

  “The 2016 team had a very tough time coming together, this 2018 team came together right off of the bat. The injuries did not separate them, it brought them together,”       The improvement and achievement the players have accomplished do not appear on the statistics, but rather from the players themselves.

  “(football is a) a results-driven sport, people see if you’re having a good or a bad year based off of numbers, but we are there every day and we see them work together every day. The fact that they are sticking together like a bunker mentality says a lot about them,” Evans said.

  This shift in mentality has come from the practices.

  “We have practiced a lot harder (due to the injuries on the team) and conditioned at a lot more,” Ellis said.

  Despite the tough year so far, the Grizzlies are starting to play better and better, proving it’s not over for them yet.

  “We have been coaching for a while and we know struggles will create strength down the road,” Evans said, “The silver lining of this  is that granite bay football is going to be fine.”