Football teams prepare for playoffs

By Luke Casola ’20 and Gautam Natarajan ’20
Left: The Varsity football team runs out to the field while the cheerleaders hold up the banner to start their game. Credit: Casey Kim ’20
Right: Quarterback Evan Roderick ’21 throws the ball during a middle school football game against Oaks Christian.  Credit: Aaron Park ’18

The middle and upper school football teams have been competing at a high level for over two months in order to prepare for playoffs. This marks the second year that the football program has two teams, one for each campus.

The middle school squad consists of seventh and eighth grade students, and the varsity squad is made up of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. According to offensive linemen Will Saferstein ‘20, the increased number of players for each team will create depth and provide talent. Players from both squads said that they have been bonding off the field to get used to the new and younger players joining the team. Starting quarterback Jameson Wang ’20 gave his opinion on playing varsity football as a freshman.

“Playing against older competition is harder and sometimes it isn’t fun, but it definitely makes you better,” Wang said.

Wang’s coach said that he has clearly shown he can lead a team as a freshman.

“We are excited about the skill set he brings to our program. Jameson is mature past his years,” program head Scot Ruggles said.

The varsity team practices five days a week. During practice, the players review plays to perfect their execution. At the end of each two-hour practice, the team conditions by running sprints on the field. The squad will also lift five days a week for one hour to work on speed and strength. Games take place on Friday nights and there is a rehabilitation session on Saturday mornings. The varsity squad is coached by Ruggles, Co-Offensive Coordinator Rand Holdren, Offensive Coordinator Chauncy Fagan and Defensive Coordinator Bernardo Castro.

“Coach [Ruggles] has been good at integrating the new kids at the program and making sure that all the kids are making friends and getting to know everybody else,” linebacker William Seymour ’20 said.

Ruggles said that he believes there is an influx of new younger talent on the varsity squad. Due to the strong talent of this year’s freshmen class, he believes the football program has a bright future to look forward to.

“Our freshmen class are playing major roles in our football program this year. We look forward to building on the talent of that class,” Ruggles said.

This season, both middle school and varsity teams hope to grow and prepare the athletes for the next level. The varsity team’s record was 3-3 as of press time. The varsity squad has its eye on winning the CIF finals in December.

The middle school team consists of the youngest football players at the school. The focus is to prepare the players for a higher level of competition and to teach the athletes plays and formations that Ruggles has set up for the varsity team. The middle school team, coached by Scott Wood, practices on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. At the beginning of practice, the team will split into lines to stretch out before the physical practice. The team will usually split into groups to practice the special teams, offensive and defensive plays.

Monday practices are called “walk throughs,” during which the team runs over the plays without pads on.  Games are on Saturdays and there is a fifth quarter for the players that did not get to play in the first four quarters of the game.  The team is currently undefeated (5-0) as of press date and is looking to finish the season that way.

Quarterback Evan Roderick ’21 said that he believes that the team is very strong this year.

“My goal is to the finish the season with zero losses on our record. I think we can do that. Our team has so many good players, I am very confident we have one of the best middle school teams [the school] has had. It would be a great accomplishment to win the championship,” Roderick said.

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