When Justin Tschetter was in eighth grade, he was in love with football. Simply put, it was his whole life and nothing else mattered.
If you told Tschetter he would eventually grow weary of the six-day-a-week grind by the end of high school, he’d dismiss the person and the notion with a wave of his hand.
Yet that’s the position Tschetter finds himself in as his Carson High football career winds down. Despite leading the team in tackles with 59 heading into Friday’s game at Damonte Ranch, Tschetter, barring a miracle, will say adios to the sport when the Senators finish their playoff run.
Injuries have played a role in his decision. He has fought toe and neck injuries this year, and he just doesn’t possess the fire he once had for the sport.
“It took me two weeks to recover from my neck injury last year,” Tschetter said before Tuesday’s practice. “That took its toll on me. Having just one day off every week, you have to give up so much. Playing football in college is a whole other level, and I’d have to give up even up even more than I’m giving up now. It’s much more of a commitment level.”
Tschetter is looking to enter the military after graduation. His first choice is the Marine Corps.
“It’s a better fit for me,” he said. “They have a wider variety of things you get to do.”
Until then, he’s going to give it his all and extend the Senators’ season as long as he can.
“We have two bad losses this season (Reno and Reed),” Tschetter said. “I’d like to go out proving to people that we’re a lot better team than we showed earlier this year against those schools. There have been some low points and there have been some high points.
“I felt like I’ve contributed pretty well to the team so far.”
Injuries kept him out of the 56-0 win over North Valleys, and Tschetter said if the game and opponent had been bigger, he probably would have played.
Statistically, the losses to Reno and Reed were Tschetter’s two best games this year. He piled up 14 tackles in the loss to Reno, and added a career-best 17 stops in the 47-41 loss to Reed.
“Definitely the Reed game has been my best,” Tschetter said. “I thought we really came together as a team (in the second half).”
One thing is certain, Tschetter has brought a certain toughness to the game. He started the season at outside linebacker, but moved to the inside the second week of the season
“The position move was more to help our team,” Tschetter said. “It was good for me as far as helping the team.”
There aren’t many 215-pound linebackers in northern Nevada who can run and are physical like Tschetter.
“He’s been a very solid middle linebacker,” Carson defensive coordinator Steve Dilley said. “He is more effective for us inside the box. He is a big guy and he comes downhill hard. At middle linebacker, you don’t have to make as many adjustments.”
“He has all the tools,” linebacker coach Shane Quilling said. “He’s tough and fast, and he can be very physical. He has all the tools you are looking for in a linebacker.”