Seniors Lead USC Football


Koby Markovitz, Staff Writer

On Friday October 30, The Upper St Clair varsity football team will be playing against Penn-Trafford in their first playoff game of the season. For the seniors in the class of 2021, this game could be the last of their high school career. Back at the beginning of the season, being able to play the full season was still up in the air. I asked Tyler Rieger that at the start of the teams training camp, did he think there was any chance of playing the full season. He gratefully responded with, “I did not think we would play a full season, but we all did hope so. The thought of our final season being cut short was definitely in the back of all our heads, but I am very happy that we were able to”. The thought that the season could have come to an end had really brought them together.

 In a typical off-season, the team would have lifting together and by themselves starting in January up until the season starts up, but due to COVID-19 and the unknowing ness of the virus, the gyms were closed for months it was a unique off season to prepare. Connor Schmitt helped explain to me when I asked him how the off-season training has been on and off the field. He said, “It has been a lot more spread out and it is harder to stay motivated and communicate. But it was motivating the team and to continue pushing for one another even though we aren’t together as much”. The struggle of this off-season really shows the grit and determination of this team and the fight they are willing to put up day in and day out. Every season brings new-comers, and every year this means freshman. The seniors have been in the routine coming in on four years and have the necessary drive. I asked Jalen Mortimor, “When the season started as a senior, do you feel a responsibility to lead by example and help the underclassman when they are struggling?” He responds, “Yes I do, if I see a lack of work ethic on and off the fields from the underclassman it makes me want to help them out because I want our team to be the best possible”. Jalen’s charisma really shows through in his response. He wants to help everyone out and put everyone in the best position possible. Once the season started, the only people allowed in the stands were family which meant, no student section. 

The student section every week would bring an energy that could not be replaced. So I wondered, “How has the atmosphere changed this season without the student section?” Tyler says, “Without the screams and chants of the student section, the games have gotten a lot more quiet. The team has really had to get loud on the sideline to try and be some of the energy the student section brings us”. This really shows the passion the school has for the USC sports programs that they can make such a difference without even being on the field.

As the regular season ends and playoffs begin, the teams that made the playoffs have to prepare or else they go home. The seniors at Upper St Clair know that if they lose, their high school careers, over. Because of playoffs, I wondered if the preparation for Fridays changed at all. Connor said, “The preparation has not changed because we have been doing a great job of preparing so far. The main thing that will change is the intensity”. With their game plan not changing, this really does prove that this team deserves to be in the position that they are. 

With the senior’s final season starting to wrap up, they have been through good and bad and have made decisions leading them to where they are now. With that being said, I asked Jalen, “With the end of your high school football career coming to an end, is there anything you wish to have done differently?” He thought for a second and said, “No. I don’t think back on the ‘what ifs’. I like to think that my decisions are the right ones. Thinking back and regretting something isn’t a good way to live”. I really like this answer because everyone can go back and think, “I wish I did this instead”, or, “I wish this could’ve happened”, but not everyone can think about working now to be ready for tomorrow.

With the senior’s high school careers in the rear view mirror, many are excited to take the next step and continue to play football in college. And for others, these playoff games will be the last game of their lives. The heart the team has put into this season has really showed the type of people there are in the class of 2021.