Zachary Cohen | Sports Editor
Former MLB Manager Sparky Anderson may have said it best when he came up with this quote, “Just give me 25 guys on the last year of their contracts; I’ll win a pennant every year.”
No matter what sport you play, your coach will tell you to never take a play off, play every play like it’s your last, and to leave it all out on the field. Though it sounds like a good strategy that would probably win you games and help you be more successful, it’s one of those things that are easier said than done. I mean it’s not like it’s a small task to give 110% on every single play throughout a whole game, especially when it comes to football. Playing a football game, one of the most physical sports, really takes a toll on a players body. Think about it, when it comes to professional sports, why do you think they play 162 games in baseball, 82 in basketball, and only 16 in football?
I’m not saying there aren’t players out there that don’t give every play 110%, but it’s a very rare occurrence. If there’s one player that was known for giving his all every down, it’s senior Garrett Blucher.
“I give 110% every play because if you don’t, then you’re not playing right, and you’re not playing for the love of the game,” said the former Johnson linebacker, “If you really love the game, you’ll play hard all the time.”
The “reckless abandonment” style of play Blucher possessed in his days as a Jaguar not only made him a better player, but also helped make his teammates around him better. By him giving all that effort every play, it rubs off on teammates, and virtually affects the whole team. When you have a whole team giving their all every play, that can only lead to one thing, winning ball games.
When you’re a little kid playing flag football, you look at the sport as something to do because it’s fun, but you don’t really take it too seriously. However, as you grow older and the competition gets more intense, so does your attitude towards the game. In high school, losing 3 or 4 games can eliminate you from playoff contention, so every game is very important, and every play crucial. This doesn’t ever apply more than when you’re in your senior year, your last year of high school football, and the last time most of the players will ever put on a helmet and pads.
When asked if he would approach this season any different because it’s his final year as a Johnson football player, senior Will Galloway said,
“Yes, since it’s my last year I think I’m gonna go all out. I say that every year, but this year I’m serious; this time, no b.s. ing around.”
Johnson plays in one of, if not the, toughest districts in the state. Because of the unrelenting competition, It’s not easy to win games in this district, let alone make a playoff run. The Jags will play the usual 10-game schedule this upcoming season, which means, like previously stated, 3 or 4 losses can knock them out of the playoffs. Johnson has never had a post season appearance in their first 3 years of existence, but this year has a different feel than any other year previous. The upcoming season will be the first team assembled of “Johnson Born Athletes.”
Just three years ago, the class of 2012 were walking into a band new school as little freshman, and for Marcus Cardoza, it felt like it was just yesterday,
“I was real nervous cuz you have to earn your way and respect on the football field and now as a senior its kinda given to you and you’re expected to do bigger and better things.”
That was three years ago, today the boys that walked onto the field as freshman trying to prove themselves to the coach are now faced with an even bigger task. They now have something to prove to the district, the city, and the community in general, they will begin next season attempting to become the first team to reach the playoffs in Johnson football history. Accomplishing this would be nothing short of astronomical for the ‘Double J Nation,’
“It would be a major achievement for our program,” said Galloway, who is entering his 2nd year on the varsity level. “It’ll be us shutting up everyone that said were not good enough, and we wanna prove everybody wrong and curve the path for incoming freshman. It would be a good way to show the city what we can do.”
No matter how this season goes, how many wins or losses come out of it, or how long the Jags season lasts, the seniors who will play their last high school football season need to keep their heads help high. As the first full Johnson graduating class, this group of seniors will leave a legacy that will be etched here, “on the good side of 281” forever.
Six months from now, they can look back on the legacy they will leave but until then, there are plays to be played, games to be won, and dreams to be fulfilled. This senior class has the chance to do something unprecedented and make history by becoming the first Johnson football team to taste post season play.
For more information on the upcoming schedule for the 2011-2012 season, visit jaguarpride.org