Injury halts quarterback’s season

Sophomore brought mobility, accuracy


Sophomore JJ Schlenhardt reviews plays on his wristband before the snap in a game against Conant on Sept. 9. This was Schlenhardt’s third game of the season as quarterback before his injury during the Rolling Meadows game on Sept. 15. Photo by Jada Glazebrook

Sophomore JJ Schlenhardt ran the ball into the end zone from 22 yards out to make it 6-0 in the team’s game against Rolling Meadows on Sept. 15. About five minutes later, Schlenhardt attempted to run the ball into the end zone a second time. After breaking the defensive line around 25 yards out, Schlenhardt was tackled from behind. After getting up, Schlenhardt hunched over and took a knee while grabbing his left wrist. Unable to go back into the game, Schlenhardt found out the next morning that his wrist was broken and that he would possibly need surgery. 

“When I first went down, I was kind of in shock,” said Schlenhardt. “I tried to walk across the field, but I had to go down because my wrist was throbbing. I thought that I sprained my wrist again and that I would be able to play, but that wasn’t the case.” 

According to head coach Matt Purdy, during the summer practices, coaches were still unsure as to who the starting quarterback would be. 

By the time the school year began, Schlenhardt was chosen. 

Schlenhardt has great command in the huddle and knows when it is time to speak up or let the captains do so, Purdy said. 

“A guy like JJ certainly stepped up and earned his spot,” said Purdy. “But he knows there are a couple of guys that are close to him and his skills always have to be on point.”

According to senior Patrick Mahoney, Schlenhardt’smaturity, ability to refocus everybody on the team and throw on the run are some qualities that stand out about him. 

In the team’s first game against Taft on Aug. 28, Schlenhardt made many effortless throws on the run to junior Patrick Schaller, Mahoney said. 

During the second quarter, Schlenhardt scored a one-yard rushing touchdown, his first of the season. 

“It was very sweet, everyone crowding me, congratulating me,” said Schlenhardt. “I just felt very good.”

According to Purdy, the team worked very well together and there were contributions from players across the board during the Taft game.

“That’s what I really want to focus on with our team, 11 guys in all three phases playing really well,” Purdy said. 

According to Schlenhardt, after a practice full of fooling around and carelessness in early August, the captains organized a meeting at senior Tarek Taha’s house to get the team more focused as the first game approached. 

According to Purdy, the next morning, he pulled into the parking lot at 6:55 a.m. to find that the players had suited up and had been running drills 30 minutes before the practice had started.

“I’ve been doing this for 26 years as a coach, and I’ve never walked out to a practiceand seen our entire team … running their own walkthrough practice,” Purdy said. 

As of Sept. 22, the team is 2-2. Schlenhardt had two passing touchdowns and three rushing touchdowns before injury. Senior Owen Washlow has 24 tackles and Schaller has 14 receptions. 

“I’m angry that I can’t play with my guys anymore and most likely won’t be able to finish the season with them,” said Schlenhardt. “I feel really bad for the seniors because it is their last season and I want to make it special for them.”