Football team suffers injury setbacks


Photo Credit: Steve Hockstein

Coach Kurz guides his team in a 2015 fall game against Garfield.

by James Boisits, Staff Writer

The Glen Rock Panthers varsity football team has made the state championship at MetLife stadium three times in the last 10 years. This year is not expected to follow that pattern.

This season has been one of the toughest seasons for head coach Jim Kurz.

“I don’t think we’ve ever dealt with this many injuries in one season,” said Kurz, who is in his eighth season as head coach.

The team is now 4-3 after the loss to New Milford 27-10. This followed three victories against Garfield, Palisades Park, and Lodi. The team has faced multiple injuries, including those to Will Rabens, junior, Justin Douenias, sophomore, Ryan Dooner, senior, Jared Lipsky, sophomore, and Matt Sapoff, junior, whom required surgery.

Michael Escalante, J.V. and wide receiver coach, is more than qualified for his position. He played receiver at Glen Rock High School and Springfield College, Division 3.  

“We are pretty fortunate that everybody gets a lot of practice time at their individual positions no matter a starting senior or backup on the freshman team, It’s going to be very important for them to learn quickly because some of the kids are being thrown into the fire,” he said.

Rabens was forced to give up his position of wide receiver at the beginning of the season, due to a torn ACL. Kurz and Escalante witnessed the injury.

“I was right there, unfortunately I knew when he went down that it was serious. It was a non-contact injury, he planted his foot badly and went down in pain,” Coach Kurz said.

“When a player goes down like that with no contact, it’s usually a bad sign,” Escalante said.

Dominic Patania, junior wide receiver and second string QB, suffered two sprained thumbs earlier in the season. Patania explained the struggles of playing on the field with the thumb injuries.

“The worst part about playing is being able to block and just not thinking about the pain while trying to catch the ball all at once, although injuries happen and sometimes you gotta play through them,” Patania said. Dominic Patania has now recovered from the injury and is back to himself.

Varsity players Ben Packer and Drew Famularo talked about confidence in the locker room during this tough season.“I don’t think it takes hits at our confidence, but it is disheartening when you see your teammate go down,” said Famularo.

“I just gotta keep working, we’re all boys and these injuries will not keep our confidence down,” said Packer.

“This is what’s going to happen in life sometimes. Adversity causes some to breakdown, and you gotta break through. That is what’s great about high school sports, it allows a player to break through adversity because with or without an injury a player is always going to deal with adversity with any sport and it’s good for these guys to appreciate the good moments and learn from the bad and hopefully that will help them in the future,” Kurz said.

Whether or not the team makes the championship, Kurz views this season as a learning experience for the players to deal with adversity and tension.