By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
Evan Sanchez has been confined to a wheelchair for almost two months.
It’s not how the senior captain on the Monrovia High School football team envisioned the season, but you can bet he’ll be there Saturday night at 7:30 when Monrovia takes on Whittier Christian in the CIF-Southern Section Mid-Valley Division championship game at Arcadia High.
Sanchez suffered a leg injury during the offseason, but he worked hard to get back in time for fall camp and be ready to start again this season as a tight end/linebacker. That wasn’t the case in October when he suffered a first-half right leg injury against Blair. The 5-foot-10, 195-pounder tore the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and on senior night against La Caada in November underwent surgery to repair the knee.
“Because of the tear in his PCL he literally had no movement in his leg,” Monrovia coach Ryan Maddox said. “His leg was paralyzed. The rip to the PCL can have nerve damage.”
Sanchez proudly wears his Monrovia letterman jacket when wheeled to games. You’ll often find him sitting near one end of the sideline rooting for his team. But it still doesn’t compare to the rush of making a tackle and celebrating with teammates.
“I know how much it means to Evan to be there,” Maddox said. “It tears your heart as a coach because you know how bad he wants to be there playing.”
Maddox feels because of his strong work ethic and love for football Sanchez can find a way to be around the sport.
“I told him he’d be a great coach in the future,” Maddox said. “If he still wants to be part of the game, it’s a great avenue for him. He’s just such a phenomenal young man. He’s brilliant and he’s a champion.
“He’s the kind of kid you know is going to excel at anything he puts his mind to because he’s such a hard worker.”