Unsung Heroes: Maria Carrillo’s Andrew Messerschmitt

Maria Carrillo senior running back Andrew Messerschmitt (Press Democrat photo).

MARIA CARRILLO
Andrew Messerschmitt
Senior RB/LB

Notable: Senior Andrew Messerschmitt suffered an ankle injury early in his junior season that really affected his season. Subsequently, he worked hard all offseason, emerged as a leader, was chosen as a team captain by his teammates, and was poised to make up for the lost time of his junior season with a breakout senior campaign. Then, in the second game of the year, he experienced a severe thumb injury that required surgery. He missed the whole season until he was cleared to participate in the last game of the regular season against Rancho.

“We’re taking great precautions in protecting his hand and his roll is somewhat limited as a result,” said Maria Carrillo coach Jay Higgins. “But it’s good see him have the chance to do what he worked so hard for. Most telling about his commitment to our team is how he stayed involved every day. He never missed a day. In addition to supporting his teammates on the practice field and on gameday, Andrew was a tremendous help to our coaching staff in assisting with the care and treatments of other players with minor injuries, i.e. ankle sprains, since he knew first-hand exactly what needed to be done. He knows his way around our training room as well as anybody now.”

A CONVERSATION WITH MESSERSCHMITT

PD: Going into last season, how high were your expectations?
Messerschmitt: I was really excited. I wanted to see how many teams I could get on — anything that I could get on — kickoff team or any kind of special teams. I was just trying to get up to where the seniors were. I wanted to be out there on the field and hang with the big guys. So I just worked really hard, but it didn’t work out for me last season because I got injured.

PD: What kind of stuff did you do to rehab from that injury last year?
Messerschmitt: Every day during practice I would go into the team room with other players and first I would put my foot in a hot bucket of water and move it around, try to get movement in it. Then I would take it out and immediately one of my buddies would rub it out with tiger balm and rub out my ankle and try to push the swelling out of the area that was injured. Then I would have to stick my ankle in a bucket of ice. The whole process took about an hour and a half, every day.

PD: After working so hard last year, being voted team captain and predicted to have a breakout year and then going down to injury again, what were your thoughts?
Messerschmitt: I couldn’t believe it. I was thinking to myself, “Something is going on here, why am I so injury prone and everybody else is not?” It was just one of those plays that could happen to anyone, I got pushed down and jammed my thumb back and tore a ligament in my thumb. I was thinking, ‘Here we go again, I just have to keep working to get better again just like last season and hopefully I can catch a few more games like last season.’ I kept at it and had a cast on it for six weeks and I was out for seven weeks and I have been going to therapy for my hand and I have been wrapping my thumb and playing in the games. It was just a been-there, done-that thing.

PD: Did you think that you would be playing again this season?
Messerschmitt: I honestly didn’t think that I was going to be able to play for the rest of this season. All the doctors told me, “No, you are crazy.” I had a pin in my hand and a cast on it; it was the worst thing that could have happened. No matter how much I wanted to, I really just didn’t think that I was going to play again.

PD: How much support did you receive from family, friends and fans?
Messerschmitt: I got tons of support. They would always ask me “When are you coming back?” “We need you.” “Get better!” They were actually really supportive, some of the guys would say, “Oh there’s Andrew, injured again.” They would just mess with me, but they were really supportive of me and they wanted me to get back out there.

PD: How excited are you to be back and just in time for the playoffs?
Messerschmitt: It’s awesome. It’s awesome that we got a seed in the playoffs and I am going to be starting again and it’s great because I didn’t think that I would be playing again. My team is giving me another opportunity to play by being so great this season and now we get to go play in the playoffs.

PD: Why do you think that Maria Carrillo will win on Saturday? (Editor’s note: Maria Carrillo beat Dougherty Valley, 34-6)
Messerschmitt: We want it more. We haven’t had this opportunity in a while because we have always just come up short and we have worked really hard this year and in the preseason and so I think that will pay off. I think that it is just going to happen, we want it more than they do.

PD: What is a lesson that you have learned from your football career?
Messerschmitt: About the injury — I wish that people could know what it’s like. I would never hope that anyone gets injured, but if they knew what it was like, they would realize how lucky they are. You don’t realize what you have until it’s all gone. You never know what is going to happen and you don’t know what’s coming next, so go hard all the time because it might be your last time.

PD: What are your plans for after high school?
Messerschmitt: I might go and play some ball at the JC, so we will see how that goes. Maybe I will go and try to be a walk-on somewhere, I am not really sure yet. I would definitely love to play football though.

— Jonathan Pierce, for The Press Democrat