By Angela Greco
The City College Rams are having a stellar season, as they hold number 2 in the state with a 9-0 standing.
One wouldn’t guess that coming off a cancelled 2020 season plus the unprecedented events of a pandemic year as one of the reasons the team may be so strong, but the resilience of the team bouncing back has clearly said otherwise.
Defensive lineman Frank Banks talked about how hard the past year was but instead saw the silver lining. He said, “It showed who wanted to be at City [College], who wanted to play football, who wanted to pursue a degree academically and in football.”
“It kinda weeded out the cancer,” he said, a term his past coaches would use. Then added, “Everybody who wanted to be there—who wanted to be great—stayed.”
Fast forward to 2021 and the Rams are left with a devoted group of players who have the perfect combination of low egos and phenomenal chemistry, something that players quickly recognized.
Defensive lineman Caleb Lagafua said that their player chemistry is something he and teammates discuss. A lot. He said, “We’re really a close unit. It’s more than just our positions. We all hang out with each other as a collective team. It’s crazy how much closer we are as a team.”
Lagafua added that this supportive energy carries over on and off the field. “On the sidelines, everybody’s happy for everybody who makes a play. More than just like, ‘that should’ve been me’ but ‘I’m so happy that you had a big moment.’”
Banks backed up this sentiment. He said, “I feel like we’re more together as a unit, also, we’re all on the same page. You can just tell in the camaraderie. The way we hold ourselves accountable to our own mindsets and the whole vibe of the whole team.”
Having the support of teammates clearly has paid off. Banks said while there are players who are getting college offers and overall doing really well, they still acknowledge that “nobody is higher than the team.”
Freshman and wide receiver Jeffrey Weimer is thoroughly enjoying the first year on the team, with the wins making it that much more sweet. He said they are a, “Coach-fed, player-led team” and “that’s what’s made it so unique and great to be a part of.”
Defensive backs/recruiting coordinator Brandon Younger has had football in his life for twenty-eight years straight. Being unintentionally forced to take fall off during last year’s canceled season allowed him too, to reflect on the importance of football in his life.
“It really put into perspective how much the game of football means, not only to us and our careers and where we’re trying to go but just our everyday lives and how much that camaraderie and brotherhood is so much a part of who we are,” Younger said.
Needless to say that the team is a collective unit of guys who are now hungrier than ever. Week in and week out, their hard work and preparation have been on display. As they agreed, they want to be the best by zoning in on that groundwork one game at a time.
Younger recognized how hard the staff and team has been working. He pointed to the team’s confidence on the field as a reflection of this training. While he stayed humbly focused on continuing that momentum, he emphasized the importance of sustaining it.
“We gotta stay hungry, we gotta stay focused and not let the success we’ve had so far take us off track on where we wanna go.”