Mill Creek Carter Governale (18)
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Fast and strong, Carter Governale was always one of the stars as a youth player in the Gwinnett Football League. His talents were well-documented, but his durability was just as impressive.
In all his years of football, Governale never missed a game.
Unfortunately, his streak ended when he watched Game 10 last season, Mill Creek's finale against Duluth, from the sidelines. The running back tore the ACL in his right knee in the ninth game when he was hit by two Peachtree Ridge defenders, lining him up for offseason surgery and eight months of rehabilitation.
With that behind him, Governale looked great this summer.
"I felt really good," he said. "I felt like I was back. At times, I felt even better."
The junior was slated to start at running back, as well as safety.
"This young man worked tirelessly throughout the offseason and summer to rehabilitate and get back to 100 percent," Mill Creek head coach Shannon Jarvis said. "He was practicing great. He was set up to have a great season and continue his success from his sophomore season."
'Was' is the painful past tense Jarvis was forced to use.
Just over a week ago, on Aug. 14, Governale made a cut in practice and his right knee gave out again. There was no contact, just a routine cut that re-tore the ACL and wiped out all those months of work.
It was an unfair blow to an outstanding kid, one who is praised highly by the Hawk coaches for his work on and off the field.
True to his character, Governale didn't sulk. He's just eager to work on rehab.
"I've been able to stay positive just with the support of my teammates, my coaches and everybody around me," Governale said Wednesday, a day after ACL surgery. "They've been great with everything and that's made it so much easier."
Governale understands the timing of the injury is bad, since the junior season is so critical in the college recruiting process. But he focuses on the positive sides --at least it's not his senior year and he still has a lot of sophomore video to show recruiters.
He won't be playing spring football when the college coaches visit early next year --he plans to try out for the Mill Creek golf team instead --but he hopes to be back on the football field by next summer. He isn't rushing a return, though. He wants to make sure this ACL surgery is his last.
"Carter has proved one time before and is determined to prove again that no injury will change his attitude or competitive spirit," Jarvis said. "Carter is a tremendous young man who I am confident will only grow stronger from this devastating injury. He has already mapped out his return for next season and has already turned his competitive focus to his return to the football field next fall."
I hope the knee heals quickly for him, so he can start a new iron-man streak next year.
Will Hammock can be reached via email at email@example.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock. For Hammock's blog, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willsworld.