Brooks Pressler: ‘I’m just glad to be a part of all this’
Citizen Telegram Sports Editor
No. 6 Rifle at No. 3 roosevelt
What: Quarterfinal round of Class 3A state football playoffs
When: 1 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Roosevelt High School, Johnstown
Last meeting: 2012, Class 3A quarterfinals. Rifle defeated Roosevelt 48-34 at Bears Stadium in Rifle.
This season: Rifle (10-1) won the Class 3A Western Slope League title and defeated Northridge, 61-13, in a first-round game on Nov. 8. Roosevelt (10-1) won the class 3A Northern Conference title and defeated Eagle Valley, 42-7, in a first-round game on Nov. 8.
Weather Forecast: High likelihood of snow. Temperature at game time expected to reach 17 degrees.
With a win: The winner of Saturday’s game moves into the state semifinals against Saturday’s quarterfinal-round winner between Fort Morgan and Evergreen.
RIFLE — Brooks Pressler jokes about all of the time’s he’s been hurt — for one reason or another.
“I think that I’ve been to the emergency room, like, 20 times,” the Rifle High school senior running back said, laughing. “I think everyone there knows me by name now. That’s bad.”
Pressler has a laundry list of injuries he’s sustained since he was in seventh grade. He’s broken his nose — twice. He’s broken his left arm — twice. And he’s also broken his hand — even though he didn’t know it was broken at the time.
There’s other things he’s hurt, too. More recently, Pressler sprained his right ankle in early October when the Bears were playing against Palisade.
Pressler, however, said he’s expecting to be at 100 percent health when the sixth-seeded Bears (10-1 overall) play at the third-seeded Roosevelt Roughriders (10-1) in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Roosevelt High School in Johnstown.
“I think it’s pretty sure that I’ll be at 100 percent again,” Pressler said prior to Rifle’s practice at Bears Stadium on Tuesday night. “I scored the first time I touched the ball on Saturday and I feel pretty good, but we’ll see how it goes.”
To be sure, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Pressler was barely touched on his 22-yard touchdown run in the second quarter this past Saturday — one of nine unanswered touchdowns scored by the Bears on their way to a 61-13 first-round victory over Northridge this past week. All total, Pressler’s 28 yards on two carries gave him 449 rushing yards for the year. It made him one of four players on Rifle’s roster, including senior Brock Clark (1,098 yards), sophomore Blaine Vance (518) and junior Ty Leyba (483), who have surpassed 400 yards rushing for the season on a team that averages 294.3 rushing yards per game.
He’s done it in limited time, too, as his ankle injury during the Bears’ 18-10 loss to Palisade on Oct. 10 — Rifle’s only loss this season — has kept his on-field time limited ever since. Still, Pressler’s ankle injury is nothing compared to some of the other injuries he’s sustained up until now.
When he was in seventh grade, for example, he got into a bike accident at the New Castle skate park where, after landing wrong, he did a faceplant into the concrete. After a week of recovering from that following a hospital visit, he went out fora hike with a relative. He slipped and fell during the hike, but the fingers on his hand snapped when he tried to support himself during the fall. It turned out that he’d actually broken his hand during the bike accident, also, and doctors in the emergency room were too focused on attending to Pressler’s head injuries to notice.
The head injury, however, initially looked so severe that doctors thought he’d never play football again.
“After I got home and recovered for about a week, though, I was pretty good,” he said. “That ended up being a long summer, though, because I really couldn’t do much of anything.”
It doesn’t stop there, either. Last year when Pressler was playing on Rifle’s junior varsity football team — he transferred from Coal Ridge prior to the season and had to play JV football due to transfer rules — he had to have reconstructive surgery on his nose when the top part of his helmet came down on it while he was trying to make a tackle.
Pressler even admits that when he’s playing, there can be a hint of hesitancy on the field thanks to everything that’s happened to him over the years. He said it hasn’t, however, held him back over the past few weeks.
Suffice to say, he’s just happy to still be on the field with his teammates in the second round of the state playoffs.
“This is a true blessing,” Pressler said. “I can’t thank everyone enough for helping me get here. I’m just glad to be a part of all of this.”
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