Thursday, December 10, 2009

EDITORIAL: Risk May Have Been Worth It For Romero

By John Severance
Mountain Mail editor

The state football championship game between Lovington and Socorro was full of plot twists and turns.
With the exception of the people in Socorro, not many people gave the Warriors a chance against perennial power Lovington. Socorro gave it all it had and took Lovington right down to the wire before falling 28-21.
The Warriors played with heart and guts and left it all on the field.
But there was an interesting subplot.
In the second quarter, quarterback Zach Esquivel took a hit and was flat on his back, writhing in pain. Esquivel finally got to his feet, holding his shoulder.
Socorro coach Damien Ocampo told senior Ryan Romero, who had been injured six weeks ago and was the starter for the first half of the season, to warm up.
“I saw him get hit and didn’t realize he had a real serious injury,” Romero said. “I was excited, I didn’t want to see Zach hurt, I was excited to get in there. I didn’t know I was going to play that much. I did the best I could and tried the best I could.”
Throughout the second half of the season, Ocampo had told reporters that Romero was done for the year and that the senior would concentrate on his golf career.
The Warriors kept winning and Romero knew he wanted to play football again.
“When I got hurt in the Robertson game, I went to the doctor and he told me I had sprained the AC joint in my shoulder,” Romero said. “He said it was not a good idea to play for four to six weeks and I sat out those games. Playoff time came and my coach and parents still did not want me to play.
“We won the Robertson and Raton game and it killed me not being able to play. I have been playing football since the seventh grade and I wanted to be out there. For the state title game, my dad and coach decided it would be all right to dress out.”
The plan, though, was that Romero was just going to take a couple of snaps and he was under orders not to run with the football.
“Beforehand, we thought there was no chance,” Ocampo said. “They talked to some other doctors who got him cleared.”
Romero’s injury was similar to the one suffered by Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, who won the Heisman Trophy last year but came for his senior season in his hopes of leading the Sooners to a national title. It didn’t happen as Bradford got hurt and he probably lost his chance at millions because he was assured of being a top ten draft pick.
Romero’s stakes are not quite as big. But he still took a big risk.
Romero is quite the accomplished golfer and he has plans to play on the college level.
“In my eighth grade year, the team won state and ninth grade, I was the individual runner-up,” Romero said. “My sophomore year, I was fifth and I didn’t do so well last year.”
Romero played the final two and one-half quarters and came close to leading Socorro to victory. The best thing, though, was that he did not sustain any injuries to his shoulder.
“We could minimize the chances of him getting hurt so we did not want him to run with the football,” Ocampo said. “For a kid who had been out six weeks and not taken a snap, I thought he did a good job.”
And the best thing is that he did not get hurt. And as a matter of fact,on the day after the championship game, Romero went up to Tech and hit some golf balls.

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