Kyler Showell, the sturdy, veteran offensive lineman for the varsity Sudbury Gladiators, tore his right ACL and meniscus in last year’s Week 3 game versus the Peterborough Wolverines.
“I got cut-blocked and I couldn’t play after that,” Showell said. “I was on crutches for two weeks.”
He was done for the 2017 season.
That injury, along with multiple concussions he’s received over his football career – two or three, he can’t quite remember, nearly pushed Showell into stepping away from the game of football entirely.
“I wasn’t certain if I’d be able to play the whole season,” Showell, 19, said. “With long-term injuries, I just wasn’t sure.”
But the likes of Gladiators’ head coach Aaron Rehel, along with some other players on the team, helped convince Showell to return to the Gladiators for what is his last year of eligibility with the team.
“I’ve been playing with all of the older boys since Grade 8, Grade 9,” Showell said. “With this being my last year of playing football with them, it really, really got me to come out and play, and there’s still that love for the game.”
Team brass are grateful for his return. Rehel has said Showell has played a big part in bringing the team together and embracing the final few weeks of the season.
The Gladiators scored a decisive 41-2 victory over the lowly Cornwall Wildcats on Saturday at James Jerome Sports Complex, in the team’s final home game of the season.
Nicholas Witze scored off a five-yard catch, Mbuyi Ngalamulume ran in for two touchdowns, Brad Patterson caught and scored, Paul Au-Young claimed a pick-six, and Alex Lockhart made good on a two-point conversion.
The win improves the Gladiators record to 3-4 on the season. They’re not making the playoffs, but the boys are fighting until the end.”It means a lot that we’ve come together and come together as a team,” Showell said. “I feel that in the beginning of the year we were playing as individuals, and it feels good that we’ve all come together, started bonding, and we’re starting to get the ball rolling.
“At the start, people were mostly there trying to get the big plays. Now, I fine we’re coming together, playing as one, and it’s a lot better football. It’s more enjoyable.”
Winning always is, and the Gladiators are on a two-game winning streak.
“We’re going out there and playing our hearts out and enjoying the game,” Showell said. “This is a game of love. Everyone loves this game and everyone comes out here and gives 110 per cent.”
Rehel gave credit to Showell for returning and toughing out one more season.
“He’s a leader,” Rehel said. “He’s an aggressive guy on the football field, and he really brings it every play. He blocks until the whistle, and his goal on every play, in his mind, is to drive a guy into the ground, and it carries off onto the other guys, one of those infections that hopefully spread over to the rest of the squad.”
It seems to in the later stages of this season, as the team is on the verge of closing out the 2018 campaign with a three-game winning streak if they can overcome the Peterborough Wolverines in next week’s final game of the season.
“Unfortunately, we’re a little late to the party (on the wins), but the offence is really humming,” Rehel said. “Guys are understanding roles, understanding the system in place and how we can kind of attack every spot on the field, running the ball or throwing the ball.
“The defence keeps doing what they did today. This is the best performance that I’ve seen from them.”
Original Article By: Keith Dempsey
Publication: The Sudbury Star
Date: July 18, 2018
Photo By: The Sudbury Star
Link to Original: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2018/07/15/showell-leads-the-way-for-gladiators