Part of the domino effect of the injuries the Ready football team dealt with this fall was it had to navigate through some of its toughest games without key playmakers.
Senior running back Jack Foley did not play in a 19-7 loss to St. Charles on Sept. 13 and junior quarterback Darius Parham was out for a 20-10 loss Oct. 18 at Whitehall, a setback that played a key role in ending the Silver Knights' Division V, Region 19 playoff hopes.
Junior wide receiver Tyrese Hudson missed two games and senior two-way lineman Jacob Robinson missed the final three.
The positive side of the equation is that players such as junior linebacker and tight end Cole Matthews, junior defensive back Aiden Aiello and junior linebacker Jacob Metz gained extra experience in leadership roles.
"With the starters we'll have coming back (next year), I feel like we have a lot of experience and a lot of leadership," Matthews said.
Ready was 4-5 before closing the season Nov. 1 against Grandview at Fortress Obetz.
In a 35-14 victory over Bexley on Oct. 25, which snapped a three-game losing streak, Parham rushed 10 times for 117 yards and two touchdowns and was 5-for-9 passing for 71 yards while Foley had 29 carries for 122 yards and three scores.
Senior P.J. Daniels had two catches for 30 yards, and juniors Oumar Dia and Metz and sophomore Andy Schulze each had one reception. Hudson did not play against the Lions and was questionable for the season finale.
Hudson had 14 catches for 192 yards and two touchdowns after the Whitehall game, in which he left with an injury.
Freshman Brian Fitzsimmons, who rushed for 220 yards and one touchdown during Foley's three-game absence, and Dia both filled key roles in the secondary as well.
Against Bexley, Matthews finished with 5.5 tackles, four tackles for loss and one sack, Dia had four tackles with a tackle for loss, Daniels had 3.5 tackles and senior linebacker Donovan Sanders and junior lineman Cael Dent each made three tackles.
"We've got a good core group of young men returning," coach Joel Cutler said. "With all the unfortunate things with injuries, we return quite a bit of experience. Our biggest thing next year will be getting the kicking game situated with (A.J.) Craddock graduating, and we're losing a couple linemen."
According to Cutler, one of the more impressive players throughout the season was Matthews, who had 7.5 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss, in a 21-15 overtime loss to Harvest Prep on Oct. 11.
Matthews, who started some games on defense last season, also became a key member of the offense this fall at tight end while contributing on special teams as well.
The biggest takeaway for the future, according to Matthews, is the mentality he saw from his teammates this fall.
"I feel like we've got a lot of heart still, which is really good," he said. "We don't give up, which is a good thing to have coming to the end of this year and going into the offseason."
Most of boys soccer team to return
The boys soccer team expects to return all but six players after going 1-14-1 overall and 0-4 in the CCL.
The Knights were seeded 22nd for the Division III district tournament and lost at fifth-seeded Amanda-Clearcreek 2-1 on Oct. 17 in the first round.
Ready defeated Walnut Ridge 3-1 on Oct. 8.
Defender Luke Bergman and midfielder/forward Brayant Huerta led a senior class that also included defender Brock Baker, who was among several players to battle through injuries during the season.
Juniors Garrison Budd (defender/goalkeeper), Kyle Gramlich (midfielder) and Keenan Johnston (goalie) and sophomores Troy Hixon (forward/midfielder), Isaac Paul (forward), Angel Rivera-Martinez (forward) and Charlie Turek (goalie) also were key players.
Others eligible to return include juniors James Collaguazo (forward/midfielder), Jonathan Santiago (forward) and Elias Wahl (midfielder), sophomores Troy Hixon (forward/midfielder) and Erik Rodriguez (forward/midfielder) and freshmen Gael Garcia (midfielder), Richard Menke (defender) and Dedrick Romero (forward/midfielder).