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Hard work, fast recovery paying off for Steubenville Catholic Central’s Gorman

BACK IN ACTION — Catholic Central’s Ryan Gorman returns to the gridiron this season after tearing his ACL as a junior last year. The senior quarterback missed the final three weeks of the football campaign, as well as the basketball and baseball seasons. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

STEUBENVILLE — Ryan Gorman returned to football for his junior year last season and immediately started at quarterback for Anthony Agresta’s Catholic Central squad.

Gorman, a multi-sport athlete, would then go on to play basketball and baseball for the Crusaders. That is until his junior year was cut short in Week 7.

Competing against Harrison Central at home, Gorman’s last play came on a rollout, and he attempted a pass while leaping high in the air. When he came down, he heard the pop in his left knee. It was a torn ACL.

“When he got hurt and was laying on the field, the first thing I thought of was, ‘He lost his basketball and baseball seasons. He’s going to regret playing football, and that’s going to be it,'” Agresta said.

If Gorman did not tear his ACL, who knows what he would have done on the basketball court. And, he would have been ready for baseball even though the season was eventually canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That is not what went through his mind. Others may think he had regrets, especially because he did not play football after the seventh grade before last season.

“A lot of people ask me that,” Gorman said. “Honestly, with the guys we had last year and coach Agresta, no regrets at all. Would I have liked to play basketball and baseball? Of course, but I still have no regrets.”

Not long after exiting the field and returning home, Gorman told his coach exactly what was on his mind.

“I believe it was that night he texted me late, ‘First day of recovery. Next year starts tomorrow morning, coach.’ That was impressive, and it really made a statement to me of who he is and what type of person he is,” Agresta said.

Gorman officially found out a few days later that his junior season was over and had to wait until this year, his senior season, to get back. Even with no chance of participating in any sport, Gorman never missed a beat. Well, except for one week, but there was nothing he could do about it.

Gorman showed up for Weeks 8 and 9 of the football campaign to support his team. Sometimes he was on the sidelines. The other times saw him up in the press box, viewing the games from another angle. Reading coverages was the No. 1 priority.

“I struggled a little with coverages last year, especially at the beginning just trying to get back with everything,” Gorman said. “You just learn how the line blocks with the different schemes and how the wideouts run their routes. Those weeks definitely helped me get prepared for now.”

The one game Gorman missed was Week 10 where a win over Toronto could have given the Crusaders a spot in the Division VII playoffs. His surgery was on that day in Pittsburgh.

So, the next best thing was Gorman watching it with a live stream and listening on the radio simultaneously. One can only imagine his reaction when the Red Knights ended their 13-6 victory with a game-winning interception in the end zone on the final play.

“The last play crushed me and crushed our seniors,” he said.

It did not crush his spirits, though. Gorman was determined to make it back in time for this season. He worked so hard that he was a month ahead of schedule and was cleared on May 1.

“I was pretty excited and jumped right into everything, which I learned later that I wasn’t supposed to do,” he said. “I did all three sports in one day until I felt some soreness and puffiness in my knee. Then I had to go back and cut it down, but I’m good now.”

Gorman did return in time to participate in 13 summer league baseball games. When football conditioning began, there were no setbacks.

“He was working so hard that his parents were talking to me about possibly pulling back a little bit because they thought he was going to re-injure (his knee),” Agresta said. “We were cautious with him over the summer. We just made sure we were real selective about the activities we allowed him to do.

“But, he did work hard through the summer. You wouldn’t be able to look at him now and know he was hurt.”

Knowing he is a leader, Gorman stayed positive throughout the process and made sure his teammates knew that. He went to every basketball practice and game, standing underneath the hoop and sitting on the bench come game time. He would have done the same come spring time.

“Just because I wasn’t out there doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be there,” he said.

Every high school student deserves to have his and her senior season. For what Gorman encountered the past 10 months, possibly nobody deserves one more than him. All Gorman and his teammates can do for the time being is prepare for the 2020 season like any other year and hope it is not canceled or postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It definitely was a slow process, but each step gave me the confidence to get ready for this season,” Gorman said. “Just seeing these guys work in the offseason when I couldn’t helped me to do it.

“I just try to be a positive person all the time. It was meant to get the team up, too. Just because their quarterback was down did not mean their season was done. Those guys fought and battled the rest of the year, which is what I wanted them to do.”

Gorman is from Steubenville, along with his father, Ted, mother Michelle and stepparents Lynnett Gorman and Rich Gulan.

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