French gears up for next season

By: Alivia Taveras , Spring Reporter

Oliver French is a starting guard, began his career for Colonia High School football as a young sophomore.

“Playing under the lights every Friday last year was fun. At the same time very nerve racking because I was only a sophomore. The people I were playing against were bigger than me, a little stronger than me and older than me. But after the first play the nerves went away and I can just play.” Starting for football as a sophomore can be very nerve racking as he mentioned. The pressures from everybody around you to win states and division titles can be a hard thing to deal with.

He describes the difference between freshman football and varsity as freshman “being a lot more relaxed and way easier.” He also says that “it’s not as nerve racking because the kids are all the same age as you.”

French starts as an offensive lineman, arguably one of the most dangerous positions on the field. Offensive linemen suffer from not only minor injuries like broken fingers or sprained ankles. But they also suffer from sub-concussive hits, which are hits to the head but don’t cause concussions.

Those types of hits cause long term effects to the brain. According to Bennet Omalu, the neurologist who discovered CTE, claims that about 90% of football players suffer from the disease. Despite working hard and risking their health for their team, French says,  “Linemen are unappreciated but you get used to it and keep working hard because you love it not to see your name in the papers the next day.

On top of football, French plays varsity basketball and track, he has a job and is beginning to look at colleges this year. When asked how does he do it? He responded “Football training, my job and school go together in one season. So I have track until 5:30 and then I go to work until about 8 and then I do my homework until i’m finished.” Normally students who don’t play sports have the average student stress. Imagine the stress of three sports, a job, and the regular student stress added onto all of that. 

French would like to play football in college. Any offers he gets he would be happy to play football for their school. His dream school would be Alabama because they’re always in the national championship and its an “easy ticket to the NFL.” Despite all the talent he has, French says he a little undersized to play for college. Standing at 6’2 240, sounds like a perfectly sized lineman to me.

The football team is doing a fundraiser this month (May 2017), and French has raised over 1,000 dollars for the teams 8,500 dollar goal. He has raised the most money out of all the boys on the team. The team is raising money for an end zone camera, new equipment, and new weight room equipment. With this new equipment the team hopes to bring some hardware home this year.

With all the wins the past two seasons, there have been some tough losses. Last season the team lost to Summit 42-7 in the first round of the north 2 group 4 tournament with key players. Those being Luke Pero, Matt Zawacki, and brother Tyler. And the year before that the Patriots fell to Phillipsburg 28-21 in the finals, despite having many powerhouse players. Those players would be the graduated Sam Pero who rushed for 3,596 yards his four years. QB Tenny Adewusi, WR Pharoah Napoleon, WR Bryce Barneys, and LB Raul Cardona. But the resilient Patriots have been training to become champions.

French is one of the only players to actually play with both teams. As well as experience both of those grueling games. When comparing the two teams he mentioned “Sophomore year I feel like we were a little better. We had a better record but also had some great players that helped us do that. Last season we were .500.”

With the past games in mind, French says “Hopefully this season, we can beat Woodbridge, win a division title and, win the state championship.” The only downside to the team last year were very young, not much varsity experience. So when the players return this upcoming season (many of them being seniors) there is no doubt that they will accomplish big things.

After speaking with French, the coaches had some input to add. They described French as hardworking, and a team leader. He sets an example for all the younger players coming on to the team. As well as showing them what they have to do to be a varsity starter. They see all the hard work and dedication put in by all the starters. Any adversity on the field or if the teams losing momentum they all pick each other up.

Playing alongside French, are his long time friends Kyle Foster and Luke Pero. Pero, rushed for 1,049 yards last season, with over 100 yards per game and French have been friends since they were little kids. French says “it’s really fun, playing with your long time friends on the field. It helps the chemistry on the team and makes me slightly more comfortable.” Based off the team’s success last season, you can tell that is true.

Throughout all of his success with his team and his own personal success. French remains humble and continues to work hard. When asks what motivates him when hes tired and ready to give up he responded with “Winning. I Continue to work hard because I love winning and I really hate losing” he says with a laugh.

Even though French and his team are a gang of super talented athletes, they continue to work hard and strive for greatness. They go to workout everyday after school for multiple hours. And some even work out once their obligatory school work out is over.

With all of the talent and dedication on the team, it is no surprise the football team has accomplished all these things. Keep working hard and good luck to the CHS football team.