What: San Gabriel Valley Hall of Fame Game
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: West Covina HS
Series: East leads, 19-10-2
Last year: East 40, West 0
By Aram Tolegian, Staff Writer
Michael Ball’s senior season as quarterback of the Rowland High School football team was supposed to be one of redemption. Besieged by a broken collarbone suffered the year before, Ball was healthy last fall and seeking to build on the promise he showed as a sophomore and some of his junior season. Things didn’t go according to plan. (To continue click thread)
Above: MIchael Ball and Rowland were having a fantastic season in 2009 when he broke his collarbone on this play. What followed was a frustrating senior year for Ball and the Raiders in 2010, who missed the playoffs.
“Going into the season we had great hopes and thought everything would go well for us,” Ball said. “Things didn’t turn out how we wanted them to. I’m actually very blessed that I have another game left because I didn’t want my senior year to end how it ended.”
The game Ball still has left is Friday’s Hall of Fame All-Star Game at West Covina High, where he will play quarterback, receiver and safety for the East.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.
What Ball will be trying to make up for in his four final quarters in front of local fans is a senior season that looked good for him on paper but was camouflaged by Rowland’s 4-6 finish.
“It ended in the fans being upset, kids not happy and coaches upset,” Ball said recalling the end of Rowland’s season. “No playoffs. That’s not how we thought it would end and that’s not how we wanted it to end.”
Ball blamed a lack of senior leadership for Rowland’s disappointment. He threw for 1,443 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 466 yards and 10 touchdowns, but Ball blamed himself for Rowland’s shortcomings. And he’s not talking about what took place on the field.
“People missed practice and people didn’t mend how they should have,” Ball said. “If your team isn’t playing together, then you really don’t have a team.
“I should have taken a major leadership role, not letting people slide by missing practice. I take full credit for what happened.”
Rowland started the season 4-1, but lost its final five games. So when Ball was given another crack at partially righting his own personal wrongs by playing for the East in Friday’s game, he jumped at it.
Ball will see most of his playing time Friday at receiver, which is what he will play this fall at Citrus College.
“That’s what I’ll be playing next year in college, so I figured I might as well get started now,” Ball said. “This is the first time I’ve played receiver. It’s fun. The whole catching thing is a little tough and running down the middle with big linebackers there is tough, but I’ll get used to it.”
Ball has an idea how he wants the final chapter of his prep career to be written Friday. It starts with no dropped balls, no missed tackles and scoring two touchdowns.
“I want to show people that I am better than my 4-6 season shows,” Ball said. “I want to show that I have more leadership (skills) than people think.”
Winning will go a long way toward doing that.
“This game means everything to me and the coaches,” Ball said. “My last high school game was a loss and the last time the coaches coached this all-star game, they said they lost. So we’re all coming out trying to win.”