Every year when the football season ends in November, anticipation for another campaign on the gridiron immediately starts to build. The possibility of championship glory carries players and fans alike through the cold dreariness of winter.
The first signs of spring are greeted with early morning conditioning and trips to the weight room for our football players here on the Hill.
The process of preparation continues throughout the succeeding months and reaches a pinnacle during training camp in the dog days of summer. Despite the oppressive August heat and grueling practice schedule, the Green Terror football team remains undeterred in its quest to play championship caliber football.
A coach’s worst nightmare during these days of training, however, is the inevitable trip his players will make to the trainer’s room.
This summer’s training camp has proved no different, as the injury bug has made its rounds throughout the Green Terror locker room.
First year Defensive Coordinator, Mike Dailey, has been rudely welcomed to the Hill with unfortunate injuries to standout defensive players. The most devastating injury to hit his defensive squad is the loss of senior defensive back, Aaron Slaughter. Slaughter, an honorable mention on last year’s All-Conference Team, team captain and starting strong safety this year, tore his ACL during the Gallaudet scrimmage on August 29 and will be unable to return to the field this year.
“Losing Aaron certainly hurts, but I expect other players to step up and fill his shoes,” explains Dailey. Dailey believes Senior Paul Smith and Junior Travis Wenrich are two such players. Both rose to the occasion during the team’s opening game against St. Vincent’s on September 5.
Wenrich, a defensive back, tallied seven total tackles in the St. Vincent’s game, while Smith, a linebacker, recovered a decisive fumble. Despite Aaron’s absence on the field, Dailey insists his presence is still felt on the team: “Aaron is still active with the team, helping to coach and displaying constant leadership.”
To make things worse for the Terror, starting defensive linemen Sam Cox and Albert Leech both suffered broken hands during camp as well. Fortunately though, Cox, a junior, and Leech, a senior, were able to play the first week, both toughing it out and sporting casts on their broken hands.
On the offensive side of the ball, senior starting wide out Saum Sami suffered a torn ACL during the Gallaudet scrimmage. Sami was one of the team’s best and most experienced wide outs coming into the season and was expected to be a big time contributor for the Terror offense.
Unfortunately, Saum, like Slaughter, will miss the entire season.
During times of injuries during the football season, it is the teammates’ of the injured who step into the limelight and carry the team forward. However, the role of the injured is not diminished. Their presence on the sideline and in the locker room cannot be overstated. Their actions and words can raise team morale and most importantly, teach the younger players the value of perseverance in the presence of adversity.
Aaron Slaughter and Saum Sami certainly embody these leadership characteristics and will still play an important role in this year’s success despite the fact they will not be able to play a down. These two special seniors will help Dailey and the rest of the coaching staff make sure the Green Terror are ready to take on any challenge, both on and off the football field.