MONMOUTH – Parker Wolber wasn’t going to let a little thing like a leg injury slow him down or keep him from doing whatever he could to help Polo win a state championship.
The Marcos junior defensive back was practicing with his team on the turf at Sterling on Tuesday in preparation for Friday’s 8-man football state title tilt with Milford-Cissna Park when his leg bent at an odd angle.
It didn’t hurt him enough to keep him away from the field at Monmouth College on Friday.
“It was bothering me a little bit, but it happens,” Wolber said. “You’ve just got to play through it.
“I was coming out here no matter what, I didn’t care, I was coming out no matter what.”
Wolber had one of the most difficult tasks of anyone on the Polo defense, trying to stop the Bearcats’ speedy wideout Keegan Boyle. Boyle got the best of him on several occasions, churning out 110 receiving yards and four touchdowns.
“I had to give a lot of cushion, a lot of cushion; he’s very fast,” Wolber said. “He comes off the ball really hard. He’s a good player, best receiver I’ve seen all year.”
But Wolber got the last laugh, jumping in front of a hook route with 5:11 left in the game for an interception.
“I read it the whole time,” he said. “I knew they were coming after me because I didn’t play too well. But I just read it right, came up and made the play.”
After that pick, the Marcos took over at their own 31, got a couple of first downs to get the ball over midfield and keep the clock moving, and Milford-Cissna Park’s powerful offense never got on the field again.
It was part of the puzzle for the Polo defense to slow down a Bearcats offense that had been rolling all season long. Milford-Cissna Park still found the end zone, but also turned the ball over on downs once, fumbled it away three times, and had that pass intercepted by Wolber.
“It felt great because I finally got one for my teammates,” Wolber said. “We got the win.”
It was not Wolber’s only takeaway. After a Joey Bardell fumble recovery in the end zone put the Marcos up 34-18 with 2:08 left in the third, the Bearcats took over at their own 44 and fumbled the ball two plays later. Wolber hopped on it, and Jace Coffey added an insurance score two plays later.
“They were in a weird formation, I saw them go outside, and Tucker Mumford hit that ball and I just jumped right on top of it,” Wolber said.
He showed no signs of discomfort after the two turnovers, as the large crowd of Polo fans swarmed the field and celebrated and players posed for photos and got their state championship trophy, the first Polo has won in any team sport in school history.
“It means everything,” Wolber said. “That’s why there’s this huge crowd here. It means everything to everybody – the town, the fans, cheerleaders, players, the school, everybody, the coaches, especially Coach [Jeff] Bumsted.”
Championships have a way of lessening the pain.
“It’ll be sore in a little bit, but right now it’s good,” he said.