Varsity Football Team Competes Despite Small Numbers

Brendan+Abney%2C+center%2C+prepares+to+snap+the+ball+back+to+the+sophomore+quarterback+Chance+Bennett+in+the+game+against+Faith+Christian+Academy.+Abney+has+been+on+the+team+for+the+past+four+years+and+is+one+of+the+more+experienced+players.+%0A

Ella Craghill

Brendan Abney, center, prepares to snap the ball back to the sophomore quarterback Chance Bennett in the game against Faith Christian Academy. Abney has been on the team for the past four years and is one of the more experienced players.

David Hull, Staff Writer

   Senior football captain Brendan Abney runs over the defensive end trying to get to the QB. Abney comes off the field out of breath, needing a break but has to go right back into the game to play defense. Like Abney, many players have to play consecutive drives on both sides of the ball because of the size of the team. 

   “Playing both ways definitely ups our endurance, and it allows us to get the utmost experience of playing football,” Abney said.

   According to youth sports company LeagueSide, the average high school football team has 50-60 players. Trinity has yet to reach more than 30 players in the past 4 years. According to Forbes magazine, this problem is occurring all across the country. Since 2008, the number of kids 18 years old and younger playing football has decreased by over 600,000. 

   The team this year has 17 new players and 12 returning players on the roster. Despite the lack of experience on Trinity’s team, second-year player, senior Jack Gregg, said the team can definitely accomplish its goals this year as long as the players limit injuries.

   “The main thing is to stay healthy, stay consistent, keep showing up to practice, do everything the coaches ask of you and stay well-rested,” Gregg said.

   When head coaches David Langdon and Mike Kruczek started coaching the team nine years ago, they had more than 50 players. Langdon attributes some of the decrease in players to what he says is poor information about the frequency of injuries.

   “Parents are educated in a way to think that everybody will get hurt playing football,” Langdon said, “But I will say this: football is taught differently these days. It’s safe, we have NFL-grade helmets that we use.”

   Fear of injuries is not the only thing keeping students from playing football. Langdon mentioned that football is a dynamic game and requires strength and endurance. 

   “We live in a society where we do a lot of video games, and it’s easy to stay in,” Langdon said. “We’re just trying to encourage and motivate that mental toughness and physical toughness of what it’s like to be in a locker room with people that want to work a little harder.”

   The amount of players on the team also means that giving it your all every practice and game is a necessity. Langdon believes that every player should get at least one percent better every day. Gregg agrees with this and is a good example of the intensity a player should require in practice.

   “Trying to lead by example… Full speed, and try to impress the coaches, impress your teammates, trying to go harder than you did last time,” Gregg said. “and beyond just playing on the field, support your teammates.”

   The team as a whole works to increase the numbers on the field by recruiting friends and other students throughout the school.

   “We’re always looking for as many numbers as possible, no matter the sport, or no matter the scenario, we’re always looking for more because the more players the better,” Abney said. 

   Many of the 17 new players are brand new to football according to Langdon. He also said that many of these new players have potential to be very good once they further understand the game.

   “One of the great things about playing any sport is when you fail sometimes and then you succeed later, it’s a great moment of growth for you as a person,” Langdon said.