Still on his Feet: Starting fresh in OSAA limbo
PERRYDALE – It goes against an athlete’s nature to be told he or she cannot do something. When the athlete is in the throes of adolescence, every slight is perceived as personal.
That’s why the maturity of the Perrydale football team as it embarks on an eight-man football season unlike any other is fascinating to behold. There are no chips on shoulders, even as the OSAA determined that – as a Class 2A school playing eight-man football – the Pirates are ineligible to play for a state championship.
“It’s different, but we’re still going to take it just like a regular season,” senior quarterback/safety Troy Tremblay said. “Play every game like its own game.”
“Every game’s our last game because there are no playoffs this year,” said junior running back/linebacker Brant Barnes.
Perrydale is a young squad, with only two seniors. Tremblay is one of them. When so many boys dream of winning state their senior seasons – well, that cannot happen for the young man from West Salem.
“It was kind of disappointing but it is what it is,” he said.
The 2013 season left a slightly bitter taste in the mouths of the Pirates. Perrydale finished second in the Class 1A Casco League to rival St. Paul, going 3-1 in league play (5-5 overall). A loss in the first round of the 1A state playoffs to Imbler, the eventual state champion, ended its season.
Beyond the .500 record, players noticed a dull edge. A lack of killer instinct. An ability to let weaker teams stay within striking distance during games.
“Last year was kind of lackadaisical at times. I don’t think guys were giving 100 percent in practice all the time,” Tremblay said. “This year we’re just trying to make a point to practice like we’re going to play.”
Hence, a program-wide attitude adjustment, even as fate dealt the Pirates an unassailable blow.
“We just have to take pride in what we do. We know that we’re not going to be in the playoffs but we want to take pride in what we do,” Tremblay said. “We don’t like losing.”
To that end, Tremblay, Barnes and sophomore running back/linebacker Haylen Janesofsky have tried to match words with actions in offseason workouts.
“We’re just trying to keep everybody doing something,” Janesofsky said. “There’s no down time – we’re trying to keep no down time at practice.”
Pirates coach Chris Gubrud has been impressed by the leadership – “something we’ve lacked the past couple seasons, to be quite frank, at the varsity level,” he noted – and has responded by anointing his three returns in kind. They are the leaders, and as such, they shall be followed.
There is much more to play for in Perrydale than mere pride. Even without a playoff possibility.