Varsity football: a year to forget


[media-credit name=”Nikos Frazier” align=”aligncenter” width=”300″][/media-credit]The 2011 PAL Lake Division co-champion team convinced many people that Carlmont football had established a winning tradition, but all hopes were lost when the once-mighty Scots went from first to worst in one season.

You couldn’t set up a more perfect script than the varsity football team had coming into the 2012 season. Fresh off of a co-championship season, confidence and expectations were high, and Bruce Usher Memorial Field looked pristine after its million dollar makeover. The team was fully prepared to retain the title by dominating opponents under the Friday night lights.

The reigning PAL-Lake division co-champions had only had one goal in mind at the start of the season: erase the “co.”

“We felt like a whole new team. It gave us new ambitions and motivation,” said starting defensive lineman Tristan “Tank” Gasperian.

Carlmont’s first game was on the road at The King’s Academy, where they dominated both offensively and defensively to start the season strong with a 33-0 shutout victory.

The team went to work after the win against The King’s Academy. The first days of school were spent watching film, memorizing the playbook, and practicing relentlessly.

One trip to Gunn High School later, the unanticipated downward spiral began. The Scots suffered an embarrassing 28-6 loss to Gunn one week before their first home game, but they weren’t frazzled.

With the loss to Gunn behind them, the team was prepared to make history. Over two thousand fans were in attendance for Carlmont’s first game in the new stadium, and the atmosphere was electric.

However, the Aragon Dons crashed Carlmont’s house-warming party by scoring 28 unanswered points in the first quarter and capturing a 35-14 victory.

The downward spiral continued throughout the season. The Scots finished the season 1-9, having not tasted a victory since the August 31 win in Sunnyvale.

“Our biggest weakness was depth,” said head coach Jason Selli, “we had a lot of good athletes, but not enough players to give our best athletes breaks. A lot of times we would start strong, but teams with more depth than us would chip away at us as the game went on.”

Carlmont’s opening game roster was 27 players. By the end of the season the roster size was cut down to 22 players due to injuries and players quitting.

“We seriously need to have more people come out to play, because it is hard to win with like 20 people,” said first year varsity player, Matt Stalun.
The most notable player who went down due to injury this season was senior and three year varsity starter Mark Concilla, who was sidelined by a back injury after the victory against King’s Academy.

“Mark’s leadership was very important. He wasn’t so much a vocal leader, but a leader on the field. Players saw what he was able to do and it gave them motivation. He was, no pun intended, the backbone of this team,” said Selli.

Despite the deficiencies, the Scots were always motivated. “We had a group of kids who wanted it, but they didn’t have time to apply their experience on the field. Other kids were happy, but needed to learn more,” said Selli, “This team had no time to mature. Because of our short roster, they had to jump right in. There was not enough room for learning.”

After Carlmont’s final loss of the season when they handed the Terremere Trophy back to Sequoia, Selli informed the team that he would be stepping down as head coach.

“It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make,” said Selli, “I didn’t want to go out on a 1-9 season. I’ve been coaching for 17 years and one season isn’t going to do it for me. This is a time in my life where I have to focus on family. Coaching is a major time commitment that stretches from spring to winter, and with children ages three, five, and nine, I need to maximize time with them.”

“We will be missing a huge part of our football family and a great defensive-minded coach. He studied film longer than anyone. We will miss him, but we cannot let it affect our team’s future goals,” said Gasperian.

Selli said that this year’s bad season is a “great learning tool. The horizon is looking brighter for Carlmont football. Younger players will now be even more motivated to improve. It creates a perfect storm of success.”

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