Gerber to return as Muskie quarterback

Lucas Punkari

The overall look of the Muskie football team for the 2012 WHSFL campaign has become a lot stronger over the last week.
That’s because Grade 12 quarterback Tobijah Gerber was successful in his appeal to take part in the league this fall after missing all of last season due to a left ACL injury.
“It’s pretty exciting to know that I’ll be coming back and playing here again,” Gerber enthused.
“When [head coach] Chad [Canfield] called me on the phone last Sunday to tell me that I was going to be coming back, I was pretty pumped up about it.
“And now I just have to wait until the season gets going.”
Gerber, who was Fort High’s starting quarterback during 2010, originally suffered the knee injury prior to his Grade 11 campaign and played through it during the entire season as it wasn’t thought to be that serious at the time.
But when doctors looked at his left knee last June, it was discovered Gerber’s injury was much worse than first thought.
“At the time, I thought it was just a meniscus injury that I had suffered,” said Gerber, who suffered the injury during a pre-season drill.
“So I had the surgery for that booked last June before school ended so I could come back for football season,” he recalled.
“But then we found out that I had an ACL tear, so I had to get that surgery done in October, which put me out for the season.”
Gerber’s surgery also threw Canfield’s plans for the 2011 season for a loop as he had hoped to utilize the quarterback’s abilities into his offensive scheme.
“We all thought that he just needed to have a scope done on his knee,” said Canfield. “But when the doctors found out that his ACL was torn, it came as a shock to us a coaching staff.
“That didn’t give us much time to prepare anything and when we lost Tobijah, we had Ben Whitburn come in as a Grade 9 quarterback.
“He might have been the only starting quarterback in the entire league who was in Grade 9,” noted Canfield.
“But with that said, he did a phenomenal job for us in that role for his first year and he played a big part in our team’s season.”
Even though he was unable to play, Gerber did watch from the sidelines in a volunteer role last season and saw the Muskies made a Cinderella run to the Currie Division semi-finals.
“I was really proud of all the guys last season,” Gerber said.
“In the second half of the season, I thought that we
really stepped things up, and to be able to win our first-ever playoff game in the league was pretty amazing,’ he added.
After the season ended, Canfield went to work putting together an appeal application that would allow Gerber to play in 2012.
“We started back in early February, and what we had to do is put in a letter from myself saying what the situation was that happened with Tobijah, followed by getting approval from the high school, the league, and our zone [NorWOSSA] president, in addition to having a doctor’s note and his grades and attendance at school,” Canfield explained.
“When we sent it off, we thought it would be a slam-dunk process,” he admitted. “But then we had to send in a clarification to the original appeal, which was denied.
“And then we had to send in a final appeal, which needed a new committee to be put together to look at.
“But once I found out last Sunday from the president of the league via e-mail that appeal was successful, I was pretty excited,” Canfield enthused.
“And when I called Tobijah to tell him the news, he was pretty excited, as well.”
With Gerber back in charge of the offence, Canfield will be able to open up his playbook more in 2012 after being limited over the last two seasons.
“When Tobijah played in his Grade 11 season with the sore left knee, he couldn’t bootleg out at all, so that left us as a pocket passing team, which is tough in the high school ranks,” he explained.
“Now with him coming back and his knee healing nicely, the opportunities are endless for us offensively and this year is going to be a whole lot of fun.”
With the offence already starting to take shape, Canfield now is looking towards filling the other holes on the roster prior to the start of the season in September, with the team to hold a week-long training camp sometime in June.
“We have a really strong team already with guys such as Tobijah, Ben, Colton Craig, and Braden Webb all coming back,” said Canfield.
“But we will need to have more players out there, especially on the lines as we lost a few guys there,” he stressed.
“I honestly believe that we are going to have an excellent shot of winning the [Currie] division this year, but we’re going to need people that haven’t played in the past to step up and go with us on this adventure we are about to take,” Canfield added.