ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –No high school football player in the Rockford area is happy about the season not being played out as usual this fall, but there is an upside. Some of those football players have had an opportunity to participate in other sports. Stillman Valley senior Chad Gerig is one of those football players.
Gerig is best known as Stillman Valley’s quarterback. The guy who helped the Cardinals capture a share of the Big Northern Conference Championship last year. The guy who passed for 14 touchdowns and rushed for six more. The guy who scored the game-winning touchdown on a bootleg run in the huge game at Byron last season.
Now the helmet and pads are off, and he has a driver in hand. Gerig joined Stillman’s golf team this year.
“My buddy Tim Marcum was a big influence on whether to come out or not,” said Gerig.
Marcum is Stillman’s number one golfer.
“I asked him in previous years if he would give up football and play golf, but obviously he doesn’t want to do that,” said Marcum. “So this year it’s a perfect year to finally get him out here and play a little more.”
“He had text me throughout the summer and emailed me,” said Stillman Valley golf coach Ryan Dessing. “We were both excited about the possibility. I think he had a pretty good idea what it was going to be about because I actually coached his sister years ago. She was on our girl’s first state team, so I knew he was kind of familiar with what to expect.”
Gerig’s best nine-hole score has been a 43. He’s typically anywhere from Stillman Valley’s number three golfer to it’s number six golfer.
“I’d definitely say my strength is probably putting,” said Greenberg. “Probably getting it nice and close to the hole. My weakness is definitely chipping and getting out of the sand more of that type of touch and everything.”
Marcum gives a candidate assessment of Gerig’s golf game. “Chad’s game is very spotty in a way of, he can play really well one night and the next night he can get a little off night like everyone, but he definitely bounces back.”
“Chad can hit every shot that any golfer can,” said Dessing. “He’s got it all in the bag. He’s got plenty of skill. The thing that he’s been dealing with is he’s got a really fast learning curve.”
There couldn’t be two more different sports than football and golf. One involves lots of contact, the other no contact. One involves 11 men on the field working together, the other is all about the individual. One involves big crowds and lots of noise. The other is very quiet with next to no spectators. But both sports are very challenging.
“I would say they’re both very difficult in separate ways,” said Gerig. “Football you can have your team help there, pick you up. You have the crowd, you have the momentum, you have everyone whereas golf you’re really by yourself. It’s all mental and it’s very difficult in that way. If you have one bad shot you can’t hand it off to your fullback or something and kind of get your composure. You’ve got to walk back up and you’ve got to hit it again and there’s no really hiding anything.”
“His personality is he’s very much a perfectionist,” said Dessing. “He’s one who when practice is over he’s staying to go to the range with us for a little extra work, or coach and I were in the bunkers with him earlier in the year because that was something that takes a little more practice and he hit a whole lot of bunker shots, so he kept us out there. We were with him probably an hour after prctice.”
So how much does Gerig miss football right now?
“I miss it even more (than I thought I would) because right now if you look out you kind of have like a feeling like I’d probably be at football practice right now. Just like, even the smells and everything like it’s a Friday nght. You kind of just get all that going, and you just don’t have that right now, and everything’s just kind of fly without it.”
Football teams are allowed to have their contact days now…practices, plus seven-on-sevens, but Stillman Valley’s football team is holding off on those until late in the fall, so Gerig will continue to finish out the golf season with his teammates.
So when football season rolls around next spring, just remember that guy playing quarterback for Stillman Valley is actually a golfer.