Senior fullback and captain Evan Skea reflects on last year’s injury-plagued season that limited Ridge and what’s ahead for it as it prepares to open the season at Montgomery.
Q. What was it like going through the injury-plagued season Ridge experienced in 2011?
A. It was definitely tough, but coach (Bill) Tracy just kept us upbeat in practice, worked us pretty hard and got us back up and focused. Even though two of our captains were injured (Rob Mullaney and Calvin Pekola) they played through them, and they were really good leaders. They were always on top of us. As a team, the whole starting 11 had to go through it together. It’ll make us stronger as a unit this year.
Q. What was among the team’s top goals during the offseason?
A. Definitely some scheming defensive plays against teams like Montgomery and Immaculata. But it was basically fundamentals, hitting the bags for blocking, conditioning. Now that we have moved into pads, we have done a lot of scheming.
Q. How did your offseason go?
A. I had to get my shoulder better. I missed four games (Montgomery, North Hunterdon, Phillipsburg and Hillsborough) because of a labrum tear in my shoulder. I don’t know when it happened. I just woke up one morning and I went to the doctor. It hurt throughout the season. I went to physical therapy all winter, my dad got me a trainer and I lifted. I just did what the coaches told me and tried to get my conditioning back. It felt better during lacrosse season and by the end of the season it was 100 percent.
Q. What does Ridge have to do better to succeed?
A. Mindset. We have to prepare for the next opponent. Our schedule won’t be as tough as last year, but we can’t have any exceptions for that.
What can you say about quarterback Conor Hughes?
A. He has a strong arm and is very accurate. We all have high hopes for him this year. He played well last year.
You moved positions when fullback Rob Mullaney was hurt last season, what was it like?
A. I was starting at halfback when he got hurt, and then I moved to fullback and J.D. Moore to halfback. But I was fullback my sophomore and freshman year and last year was my first as halfback. I like playing fullback, as far as footwork and everything I already had it down because of the two years I played it.