Karfis’ friendships aid on-field success

Evan Goldberg, Sports Editor

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Senior Jimmy Karfis carries the ball against Maine West on Sept. 22. Despite being injured during several games this season, Karfis averaged 5.8 yards per carry and rushed for eight touchdowns. Photo by Richard Chu

After a football career that included being called up to varsity as a sophomore for playoffs, being named first-team All-Conference junior year, rushing for over 1500 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career and being named a team captain, one of senior Jimmy Karfis’ biggest accomplishments is getting to know everyone on the team.

“When I first got into football, like at the high school level, I wanted to play, have fun and get to know a lot more people,” said Karfis. “I think [a] big accomplishment … is getting to know everyone on the team [so well]. They’re, like, my best friends, each and every one of them, and I love them all to death.”

Football Head Coach Bob Pieper said, as one of the team’s captains, Karfis is a player who leads by example.

“He wants [his teammates] to follow him when he shows them running through people [and] breaking tackles,” said Pieper. “He wants to motivate kids that way.”

According to senior Luke Frishman, Karfis’ combination of size and speed makes him a special player.

“He’s really elusive,” said Frishman. “[For me], playing on the defensive side of the ball, over the summer [he] would give me fits when he’d be able to juke everyone out, but we’d kind of just accept it because it’s [Karfis]. He’s just really tough to tackle. … He’s built, but he’s pretty low to the ground, so that also makes it tough to bring him down.”

According to Karfis, he began playing football in fifth grade and immediately fell in love with the sport. Six years later, as a junior, Karfis was the starting running back on the varsity team.

“To play under the lights [in that first game] at night with everyone there watching, supporting us … was a little nerve-racking, … but then, after that first play, it’s just playing the game like it’s practiced,” Karfis said.

Junior year, Karfis rushed for 927 yards and 16 touchdowns, helping the Spartans to an 8-1 regular season record and a second-round playoff appearance.

This year, Karfis missed the first two games of the season due to a foot injury that was sustained in a practice drill prior to the season starting. Since his return, he has not been able to play at 100 percent but said he is doing whatever it takes to get on the field.

“Every lunch, I … [go] to the trainer’s room,” said Karfis. “I will eat my lunch quickly [there], do all my exercises for my ankle, get it iced [and] get a [stimulation] using the machine. After football, I’ll come in, [and] do the same thing. … Then, when I go home, I [put my foot in] a huge bucket of ice, and it’s just the worst thing ever.”

In his seven games this season, Karfis had 730 yards and eight touchdowns on 126 carries. The team finished with an overall record of 5-4, wrapping up their year with a 49-22 win against Vernon Hills on Oct. 20 in which Karfis had three rushing touchdowns.

According to Pieper, for the last two years, Karfis has had the responsibility of wearing the number 22, a jersey with a special meaning to the football team.

“We do something here with [the] number 22 as our tailback,” said Pieper. “It [has] been that way since I came here, and that was my number so that’s the only reason why we do [it], but we knew [Karfis would] be a good candidate for number 22.”

Karfis said part of his love for football comes from being able to spend time with his teammates.

“Last year, we’d all get together and we called it ‘Hudl and cuddle’,” said Karfis. “It’s just, like, we’d all get together and we would be watching film, messing around [and] joking. We’d all eat at a house and chill and ‘cuddle.’ Not actually, but it was fun. Those times we get to spend together … are always fun, and we’d always have a laugh.”

Looking back on his high school career, Karfis said his experience in the program is something he will never forget.

“One day, it’s 8 a.m. [in] early June, and now, it’s 1 p.m. [in the] end of October,” said Karfis. “Everything went by so quick. Cherish every moment you get when you play football because time flies by.”

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Karfis’ friendships aid on-field success