A Record-Setting Season Ended On the Sideline for Titan Quarterback Carson Glazier, But Only A Fool Would Wager Against His Future
Carson Glazier threw the ball and Aiden Santino caught it.
There is certainly nothing new to this equation. But on this occasion, the two were wearing shorts and it was a cloudy, cool afternoon in January. With large leather gloves on their opposite hands, they tossed the little white round sphere back and forth, chatting. Laughing. As baseball players do this time of year.
Their mutual choice of warm-up partners could be fodder for a whole different article of this length. Maybe they just happened to lace up their cleats and stroll into right field at the exact same time. Maybe the year-round baseball players have semi-permanent soft-toss partners who they subconsciously choose day in and day out. Or, maybe after five months in daily contact with one another, Carson, Aiden and the other members of San Marino High School’s football team who are transitioning to baseball forged such unbreakable bonds after their championship season that this is a way of holding on.
Certainly, it was odd to see anything but a football exiting Carson Glazier’s magical left hand. And little was left to chance when it did. The senior finished the 2015 season 24th in the nation in passing yards with 4,119, with 47 of them going for touchdowns against only three interceptions. Nobody in America came close to his .781 completion percentage or 154.2 quarterback rating. All of this, even though the Titans played about half of their season in non-competitive situations under a running clock.
Yes, it was a dream season for Glazier and his teammates as they finished 10-0 in the regular season, won the school’s first Rio Hondo League championship in 20 years, brought home the San Marino High School’s first CIF football title since 1988 and qualified for the State South Regional championship game.
It all went, well – south – for Glazier at approximately 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12 when Carson was thrown to the Titan Stadium turf by Sierra Canyon’s Kohl Hollinquest.
Glazier required on-field medical assistance and never returned to the game. He said he “felt fuzzy” after the play. What followed will forever be a part of local sports lore as the Titans rallied from a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit to qualify for the State championship game in Sacramento. Citing their concussion protocol, the CIF – California Interscholastic Federation – did not allow Glazier to participate in the title game as San Marino was defeated by Modesto Central Catholic, which won its fourth straight championship.
“I’ve had a lot of time to think about what happened and let it sink in,” Glazier told The Tribune. “The last game: It wasn’t fun. Watching them lose without me was just horrible. The fact that my team needed me and I couldn’t help them out and had to watch them suffer was difficult…for sure. It was awful. I would rather have a lot of physical pain that to go through that again.”
Glazier wore jeans and letter jacket on the sideline. He said he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to suit up and “didn’t want any punishments to come to the team if I wasn’t al- lowed to dress.”
So he spent the chilly Sacramento evening trying to encourage his replacements – senior Mark Wicke and sophomore Blake Cabot, the hero of the Sierra Canyon game.
“Mark had some questions about protections,” Carson said. “I wanted to encourage them.”
He called the championship game “one of the worst experiences of my life.”
“The 2-1/2 hours on the field, seeing my teammates in tears after the game. J.P. [Shohfi] said to me ‘We needed you.’ Seeing them in tears. Seeing my friends crying when we could have been celebrating. It was hard.”
Glazier feels things could have been different had he been allowed to take the field.
“I do – I definitely do,” he said. “On Sunday and Monday, while I was still under the impression I would be playing, I could tell there were a lot of holes in [Modesto Central Catholic’s] defense that I thought we could exploit. I felt that if I got some time, we could have won. Given a different scenario, our defense probably would have been able to play against a style we were more suited to stop. If we could have taken the top off their defense with the deep ball, we would have had some holes underneath. I definitely think we could have pulled it off.”
Much has been made of the CIF’s decision to sideline Carson from the title game. He said he was first told on Tuesday, Dec. 15 that he would not be allowed to participate in the championship contest, which was held on Saturday, Dec. 19.
“After the Sierra Canyon game, I was given a sheet and believed that if I followed the protocol I would be able to play,” he said. “I took it easy over the weekend and the protocol said I could not practice on Monday or Tuesday. On Wednesday and I would work out, return to practice on Thursday, a walkthrough Friday and the game on Saturday. On Tuesday afternoon, my dad [Guy] pulled up a chair and told me I wasn’t going to play. I went to my room and started throwing stuff. I was so mad I couldn’t see. There was a letter from the CIF and I knew it was going to be tough for me to play. We had a restraining order that was ready to go against the CIF to not allow them to not allow me to play. But as the game got closer, I wanted to know there was no way the team would be in jeopardy, that they couldn’t disqualify the team if I tried to play. I had been cleared by the head of the concussion program at USC, but the CIF wouldn’t hear it. We challenged their rules. I could have completed the concussion protocol by the morning of the game, but the CIF rules were unclear. They made an out-and-out decision that I couldn’t play. They didn’t want to be shown that their decision was wrong. So I learned on Tuesday that I probably wasn’t going to play and on the bus ride up, on Friday, that I definitely wasn’t going to play.”
Carson claims he never displayed symptoms of a concussion.
“I was totally functional,” he said. “I took all of my finals, I never had a headache. If you want to say full-blown concussion – where you feel so bad you can’t do anything–no.”
Guidance on how to handle the disappointing news came from a rather unlikely source.
“I went to practice that Tuesday after I was told I couldn’t play and I saw Coach Rambo,” Glazier said.
The ‘Coach Rambo’ to whom Carson refers is gruff, lovable Unites States Marine and Vietnam War veteran Ed Ramirez.
“I had tears in my eyes,” Carson recalls. “He looked at me and said ‘OK, we’re going to beat them any- way. Just encourage your teammates.’ At that point I realized the game and the team were bigger than me. I should keep watching film and help out as much as possible. I needed to help Mark and Blake.”
Though he could be excused for feeling otherwise, Carson called the season “flawless.” “Minus that last game,” he quipped. “It was a wonderful experience. I have been so blessed to have a coach like Hobbie, an offensive line like ours, our defense, coaches, and receivers. The bonds our team created with the student body as well as the community were incredible. The support we had from around the area as we kept going and going and winning and winning was amazing. It was the best experience.”
The end of the season capped a decade-long quarterback-receiver relationship between Car- son and Shohfi, who was named 1st team All-America by MaxPreps.
“It has been a fantastic experience playing with him,” said Carson. “It’s like, it’s more than likely going to be a pass play and it’s more than likely going to J.P. If I can just throw the ball in the air within a 10-yard radius around J.P. there is a 70% chance of him catching the ball and .0001 of it being intercept- ed. With those odds, you don’t have to be that good. I would just flick the ball to J.P. and he would go 80 yards, break three tackles and score a touchdown. He would get me a completion, a bunch of yards and a touchdown pass. He really padded my stats. Watching him work and work and work on his craft for all of those years, it was a pleasure to play with him. You can mark my words, he will be a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year.”
For all of his astounding statistics, Carson has yet to receive a significant offer.
“Some Division III schools are calling regularly,” he said. “I hear from them week in and week out. I would like to play Division I football, but as we get closer to signing day, it’s not looking great. I still have an option to go to junior college. But Feb. 4 [signing day] is a good benchmark to see if you are going D1. I have to make my final decision by May 4. I am not upset with my position right now. My career at San Marino High School has put me in a place where I can play at a good school. I have heard from Puget Sound, Occidental and Willamette. I am very happy with the options I have right now. But they are not the dream I had when I entered my junior year. My size is an issue and I am working on that right now in case something pans out. Division I would be nice if someone would take a chance on me.”
But it’s a new year, a new sport and new fun.
“It’s time for baseball and I am a second-semester senior,” said Carson. “It’s great. Besides football season, I love basketball season. I don’t have that enormous pressure every Friday night and during the week of preparation. Don’t get me wrong, I like that, but it’s great to lay low and watch the basketball games with my friends. As far as baseball is concerned, I am getting my swing back and having fun.”
A wiser, stronger Carson Glazier will jog to first base when the Titans return to McNamee Field next month.
“I learned a ton from Coach Hobbie,” he said. “Excuses are not tolerated. ‘I don’t know’ is not an answer. He also helped me become a student of the game. And the friendships – the true bonding that took place between me and my teammates on the football field is almost inexplicable. It also taught me toughness. And mental toughness. Especially that last game…”