Four years after Sam Metcalf last donned an Aztec jersey he is on the field once again as a starter
By Patrick Dillon
FRESNO – Sam Metcalf was the best football player to ever suit up for the Farmersville Aztecs. The four-year starter still holds CIF Central Section records in career passing yards with 11,913, and career passing touchdowns with 142. He also led the program to their only section title in the sport in 2013.
Once Metcalf hung up the navy and silver of the Aztecs his collegiate career has been filled with set backs. Now he is attempting a comeback in the sport for the Fresno City Rams, four years after his last high school game.
“It is a surreal moment,” Metcalf said. “It has been a long time since I’ve been on a football field after Farmersville.”
After Metcalf’s senior season in 2014 he became the first Farmersville athlete to receive an athletic scholarship when he signed at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. The D-II school provided a lot of changes and challenges for him, but he never got to suit up for the Dragons. Metcalf broke his right foot when a screw which had repaired a similar injury before his sophomore season in high school had cracked. And just like that his season was over just a week before fall camp was set to begin.
Metcalf had a couple options. He could remain in Minnesota and wait for all his medical records to be transferred over to a hospital and then wait for an appointment. The only other option was to return homend have it surgically repaired sooner. The only stipulation was he had to be back before school began in two weeks. He did the timeline and realized he wasn’t going to make it, but he decided to return home anyway.
“It was my decision to return home,” Metcalf said. “It hurt. I didn’t know what to think or how to react. All the hard work through out my life to get to a four-year school kind of went down the drain.”
With football out of the question for the 2015 season, Metcalf began working. He stayed in shape by playing pickup football games on the weekend. He even helped out with a couple of his nephews by coaching.
“I definitely opened up my eyes a lot seeing it from a coaches view,” Metcalf said. “It helped me understand how they want to teach us and they want a player to do things.”
But as the months turned into years the uncertainty about taking another shot at furthering his career in college remained. It took his freshman high school coach Jesse Lira to convince him to give football another shot. Since Metcalf returned home Lira was constantly in his ear giving him advice on what he thought Metcalf should do. The best piece of advice Lira told Metcalf was, “That before he decided he was done playing to make sure he was happy with the decision and not regret anything later on in life.”
“Not a lot of people get the chance to do what I am capable of doing right now,” Metcalf said. “If it wasn’t for Lira I don’t think I would be where I am today.”
In 2017 Metcalf took the first steps to putting back on a college uniform. He tried out for the College of the Sequoia Giants, and was in contention for the starting quarterback role when another set back forced him to redshirt. Earlier in the year he had broken his jaw in a pickup football game and it still had not fully healed from the surgery to repair it. Once again, he had two choices. He could play and risk a hard hit which could leave his jaw unfixable, forcing him to eat through a straw for the rest of his life or sit out another year.
“Football is everything to me,” Metcalf said. “And each time I got ready to get back out there something would happen which would keep me from it.”
The extra time Metcalf took off from the game allowed his jaw to fully heal, and with no problems from his foot he decided take one more shot at playing football. This time he tried out for the Fresno City College Rams.
“It just felt like a good fit for me,” Metcalf said.
Metcalf has started in two games for the Rams so far this season. He has gone 20-38 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. In his first start against the Santa Rosa Roscos he went 11-19 for 161 yards and two scores.