By JOHN ENGLISH
The Fossil Ridge football team will try to get in the win column tonight against Colleyville Heritage, and coach Tony Baccarini said his team will have its work cut out for it.
Non-district was not kind to the Panthers record-wise, but the team has done some good things, and Baccarini said he thinks things will soon turn around.
A player the Panthers coach will look to to continue his strong effort is lineman T.J. Magalei, the only player from Fossil Ridge to actually play both ways and an excellent role model for his teammates, his coach says.
"He has so much energy and work ethic," Baccarini said. "He has worked so hard over the last four years to get to the point where he is now. He keeps things light and has a great sense of humor, but at the same time is a very aggressive and hard-nosed player."
Magalei, who divides time between center and defensive tackle, said he tries to provide leadership for his team and see to it that his teammates are enjoying themselves.
"Mostly, I try to make sure that everybody is doing their job and that everyone is having fun out there," Magalei said. "That’s the biggest thing for me."
Magalei said he has a couple of objectives for his final season in high school, as well.
"Team-wise, my goal is to make the playoffs; to give our team a shot at the big dance," Magalei said. "Personally, I hope to play somewhere next year at the next level."
Magalei has been approached by SMU, Tulsa, Southern Mississippi and BYU among others so far.
"Right now, the one that is looking at me the closest and that I have actually visited is BYU," Magalei said. "I like them a lot."
Magalei, who has a 3.7 grade point average throughout high school, said he believes Fossil Ridge is more than capable of grabbing a playoff spot this season.
"Entering district, I think we have a really good team," Magalei said. "We had a very tough non-district schedule, but I’m really excited about it, because we are getting better every day in practice."
Assistant coach Brad Skinner said Magalei is a great athlete and the kind of player that coaches love to have on their team.
"He’s a coach’s dream," Skinner said. "He came up from spring ball as a freshman, and he has not missed a workout since then. He does exactly what’s asked of him and more. He’s just a good, good kid. He’s one of the better players on the team."