First appeared on WOUB Gridiron Glory.
The senior year of one’s high school athletic career is always bound to be that player’s most important and memorable season.
Tearing an MCL is not the reason you would want that season to be memorable. For Gallia Academy senior Jared Golden, haunting best describes the beginning to his individual season. Golden, a captain for the Blue Devils this season, suffered the knee injury early in the team’s preseason scrimmage against Meigs.
Although devastated by the injury, Golden knew that if he couldn’t be on the field, he had to step up and do the next best thing.
“I knew I had to be their biggest cheerleader,” said Golden. “I need to be there for them through the ups and downs.”
Since injuring his knee, Golden has taken on a new role. He runs drills during practice, organizes weightlifting sessions, and helps develop the younger players on the team. Golden is the first one in, and the last one out every day. On game day, Golden can be seen on the field more than the second and third string players as he is always congratulating his teammates on big plays as they come to the sidelines.
“Jared isn’t just a captain for us,” noted Gallia coach Mike Eddy, “He’s almost become another coach.”
Golden’s teammates have also felt the impact as a sidelined leader.
Senior running back and captain Austin Wilson said that “seeing Jared work so hard for his teammates [and being] so enthusiastic on the sidelines encouraged us all to work harder.”
Quarterback Ethan Moore agreed further stating that seeing Golden injured “motivates [the team] to try and perform better to pick up the slack from where Jared is missing.” The senior captain also added, “he could be a huge game changer for us. We are really missing him as a teammate and a friend.”
Golden is expected to return to the Blue Devils lineup Week 6 against Logan, a return that he says will “mean the world to [him.]
“I’ve been focused on getting better,” said Golden, “but I can’t wait to get back on the field with my team and help them in any way.”
Gallia has started the season off on a four game win streak, already doubling their win total from last season. Golden’s return will add strength to the Blue Devil’s already dominant run game led by Moore, Wilson, and junior Brandon Taylor. Golden will also add strength to a stout defense as a linebacker.
Come Week 6, Jared Golden will be determined to make his senior season memorable.