During a sunny and crisp afternoon practice, Garrett Crowder asked if he was in a certain play. You can’t blame him. It’s rare the Sacred Heart junior is off the field.
“Pretty much no,” Crusaders coach Lonny Schraeder said. “Pretty much no. I told him to give me the hi sign when he’s tired. He gives me the hi sign. Okay..go back in. Can’t afford to have you out. At this time of the year we’re down some from injures and stuff like that. He’s hard to replace when he’s not out there.”
Crowder’s impact was on full display Friday when the Crusaders went up against Mt. Olive. He scored an offensive touchdown then returned a fumble 55 yards for a score. This in addition to collecting 13 tackles and a safety.
“Just practiced hard all week,” Crowder said. “Sad we couldn’t come out with a win but we fought all night. Worked on that special play through the week. Got ready for it, pulled it out and it worked.”
It’s rare that you see linemen scoring touchdowns. The coaching staff had a special play for Crowder on this night, however.
“I would round around and get a hand off but I lined up on the line,” Crowder said. “So they didn’t see it coming. I’d run around. They’d all block to the left and I’d come around the right side. They just wouldn’t be there. They wouldn’t expect that. They’d be expecting it coming from the backfield. They just didn’t see me coming.”
Crowder’s presence on the field has been a constant for some time now.
“He’s been doing that ever since I’ve known him,” Schraeder said. “He came up in the eighth grade. When they were done with football in the eighth grade he came up and played varsity. He’s been around it. He’s been through the wars. He knows what it’s all about. He gives maximum effort the whole game like all our kids do.”
Crowder has grown accustomed to a lack of rest on Friday nights. Because of this, he’s able to prepare for the grind. You can expect more of the same next season.
“Being here at a small school we don’t have a lot of people....a lot of people to sub in so you just get used to it,” Crowder said. “Run a lot during the summer. A lot of training out of season preparing and just a lot of mental reps too. You gotta mentally prepare yourself and just small things like eating right, drinking a lot of water and staying hydrated.”
Schraeder has an interesting way of describing his all-around star.
“He’s kind of old school,” he said. “He’s kind of raw boned, tough. He’s just a tough kid. He’s fun to coach. He’s a joy to coach.”
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