LANCASTER – Dylan Sharp, a senior tight end/long snapper, had big aspirations heading into this season, and just like that, it was all taken away.
Sharp suffered a major ankle injury during a 7-on-7 passing scrimmage in late July. He broke his fibula in two places, tore tendons and dislocated his ankle, which required major surgery. At the time, he thought his season was over.
After weeks of rehabilitating, Sharp was able to make it back on the field, which is amazing considering the injury he suffered. But even while he was out, he attended practice every day. He also was elected one of four captains by his teammates.
“It means everything because you go into your senior season and you are expecting big things, not only for yourself, but your team,” Sharp said. “I put everything I had into this season, and the worst part was preparing all that time, and to just have it taken away just like that was tough.
“At the time the injury happened, I really didn’t care when I got back on the field as long as I got back, even it was for just one game. I just tried to do everything I could to get back as quick as I could and I pushed really hard.”
Sharp is thankful to be a part of what has been a special season so far for the Golden Gales, who have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Instead of being in street clothes, Sharp will be dressed in full gear along with the rest of his teammates as the Gales will have Senior Night at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Lancaster hosts rival Newark in an Ohio Capital Conference-Ohio Division game at Fulton Field.
It’s not official, but the Gales will more than likely host a first-round playoff game, so the seniors will get one last chance to play on their home field next week.
“I’m just so thankful to be back out there with my teammates,” Sharp said. “My spirits were so high heading into the season, and I know the seniors expected big things from this team, and just like that, it was gone. The emotional thing was the hardest part. But I was surrounded by great teammates, coaches and of course my family really helped me though it.”
This senior class — which consists of Sharp, Drew Smith, Ashton Walker, Tyler Carter, Ryan Roseberry, Ryan Fitchpatrick, Trevor Monk, Ty Spires, Isaac Goss, Trevor Worthman, Dillon Denault, Eric Deluse, Evan Highley, Ryan Edwards, Chris Voight and Brandon Clark — has accomplished a lot the last two seasons, and the class have overcome its share of adversity.
The Gales finished 7-3 in 2014 but fell short of making the playoffs. There were a lot of unknowns heading into the season because 23 seniors, including key players in key positions, graduated.
But this group of seniors never blinked. They went to work and prepared themselves to be successful. They surprised everyone by reeling off six consecutive wins to start the season, including back-to-back victories over Pickerington Central and Pickerington North.
After losing a heartbreaking double-overtime game at home against Gahanna and then a triple-overtime mathup at Reynoldsburg, the Gales were able to bounce back last Friday with a convincing win at Grove City.
“The legacy of this year’s seniors is yet to be determined,” Lancaster coach Rob Carpenter said. “It won’t involve an OCC championship, which is always the goal, but they will be playing in Week 11 and have a lot to be proud of. These kids came together back in the summer, and what stood out was how hard they worked. It’s one of the hardest working teams we’ve had.
“These guys show up every day and do things the right way. They went through a rough patch with those two overtime games, but it didn’t kill their spirit. If anything, it inspired them even more. They have had an amazing season, and I’m sure they want to put an exclamation point on their senior night.”