Most high school football teams try to play all seniors if they can, because of their experience. But many high school coaches realize that skill and passion for the game can come before age and seniority. And Chelsea’s varsity football teams sophomore safety Garrett Steele has both of those attributes and more.
While it’s not rare for a sophomore to play on the Bulldogs, it’s not common either. And Steele just doesn’t play here or there or in “mop up” duty, he starts in the defensive backfield.
“Coach Bush and I had conversations about me playing varsity but there was not a specific date,” the 15-year-old stated referring to Chelsea Head Coach Brad Bush. “It’s a great honor being in this situation and everyone is very supportive of one another.”
Steele has been playing football since he was in 7th grade and it shows as the 6 foot 175-pound safety shows a skill set far beyond his age. He can read receiver sets and is able to shed blocks and picks to pick up and lock down his man. He has shown flashes of brilliance in coverage and is a hard hitter and has made several big stops for the Bulldogs so far this season. He is third on his team in tackles with 17 in 3 games including 1 tackle for a loss and one pass broken up.
Garrett shares the backfield with his cousin Braden who is a senior. His brother Thomas, who is also a senior, is the Bulldog quarterback.
“Getting to play on a team with my brother and cousin is an unbelievable experience that I will never get again,” Garrett said. “I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to play my first varsity season with.”
Garrett loves football but he also plays baseball but his major sports passion is hockey. He currently plays AAA travel hockey for the Oakland Jr Grizzlies.
“I love hockey so much and I’d really like to thank Coach Bush for being so supportive of me playing hockey and football at the same time this season, ” Garrett stated.
Being the youngest on a team with players mostly 2 or 3 years older than you could cause much division in most football locker rooms but Chelsea isn’t like that. All the players get along really well and everyone has been very supportive of Garrett and he feels no extra pressure on him because of his age or grade.
“Whether you’re a senior, a junior, or a sophomore playing on varsity has a lot of pressure but that’s why we play the game,” said Garrett.
Garrett thanks his family for all their support (Mother Gretchen, Father Tucker, brother Caden, sister Savannah) but most importantly his quarterback brother Thomas for all the support and leadership he has shown him all summer and for the start of this season.
The Bulldogs are a third of the way through the season and stand at 2 wins and 1 loss overall and travel to Tecumseh Friday to take on the Indians.
“I feel we are starting to figure things out defensively and offensively and once we do we will be a team others won’t want to play,” Garrett asserts.