Three and… still on?

Players who play every down have enabled varsity football team to build a winning season


Dave Winter

Alvino Carbajal has carried a huge load all season as he did in the LBJ game when he literally helped Deron Gage into the end zone for a touchdown. Both Carbajal and Gage have helped the team on offense and on defense this year. Photo by Dave Winter.

Steven Tibbetts, sports editor

If you look at the sideline of the varsity football team this year, you might find that there is a big difference between this year’s team and last year’s.

I’m not talking about the large number of new faces on the team that weren’t playing on the varsity last year. I’m talking about how there are many more people who look exhausted on the sideline this year compared to last year when that is that they are able even to be on the sideline.

The issue of tired players doesn’t stem from a lack of conditioning or stamina by the players on the team.  The football team has so many tired players because so many of them are playing on both the offense and the defense (and special teams too). Fewer players are taking the field this year than last year, and those players are staying on the field for much longer.

The reason why so many players are playing both sides of the ball this year is easy to see. The football team isn’t as deep as last year’s team was. The Knights have fewer high-level athletes this year, which means that in order for the team to succeed, those top athletes need to be on the field as much as possible.

Alvino Carbajal stands on the sideline during the Knight’s loss to Seguin. Not only did Carbajal play both offensive and defensive lines throughout the game, but he also made an impact on special teams by blocking a Matador extra point attempt. Photo by Grace Nugent.

The problem for the Knights is that the longer their top athletes are on the field, the tougher it is for them to maintain a high level of play. For some players, like junior Takai Satberry who plays both wide receiver and cornerback, the toughest thing about playing both offense and defense is keeping up his endurance.

“[The biggest challenge is] just having the stamina to do it,” Satberry said. “Just having the mentality to go out there and do your job even if you are tired. Just helping your team out.”

Dave Winter
Senior Tino Depaz has been a skilled player on offense his entire career, but when his team needed him to play defense, he stepped up to the challenge, like he did making this tackle against LBJ. Photo by Dave Winter.

Having enough stamina to play both offense and defense is also a struggle for junior Alvino Carbajal, who plays on both the defense line, possibly the most tiring position in the game, and the offensive line. 

“Let’s say we get a three and out on defense,” Carbajal said. “I have to go all the way to the other side of the field to be on offense, all tired. It’s a lot. I really don’t like it because I get tired fast.”

Carbajal doesn’t even get to rest during punts, kickoffs and placekick attempts. He is a key player on the special-teams unit, where he has blocked an extra-point attempt and blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown.

Playing both ways as a running back on offense while also playing in the secondary on defense is perhaps an even bigger struggle for senior Tino Depaz because of his tendency to cramp.

“I would say [playing both sides] makes me cramp a lot more,” Depaz said.

I just like helping my team out anyway I can

— Takai Satberry on playing offense and defense

In the end, though, the fatigue that comes with being on the field for an extended period of time is worth it for those who play on both sides of the ball. Carbajal, who prefers playing on defense, says that he made the decision to play both offense and defence for the sake of the team.

“I choose to play both to help my team out,” Carbajal said.

Satberry, who prefers offense, says that his decision to play defense was for the same reason.

“I just like helping my team out anyway I can,” Satberry said.

Grace Nugent
A tired Alvino Carbajal takes a rare rest on the sidelines with junior Cole Davis during the Knights 63-0 win over Travis. Carbajal, like many other players on the Knight’s varsity football team plays on both offense and defense. “I really don’t like [playing both sides of the ball] because I get tired fast,” Carbajal said. Photo by Grace Nugent.

So many of Mac players are willing to compete through the fatigue that comes with lining up on both sides of the ball, which is a big reason why the team has done considerably well this year after losing so many players from last year’s historic team. Without these players willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the team, the football team wouldn’t be as good and might not have extended their season into the state playoffs.

The Knights (6-4, 4-3) take on the 11-5A champion Hutto Hippos (9-0, 6-0) at 7 p.m. tonight Hutto Memorial Stadium next to the high school.