The lack of a 2020 season didn't prevent the Garces Memorial football program from having a historic National Signing Day.
On Wednesday, four Ram seniors signed national letters of intent to play college football at the Division-I level. According to Garces sports information director Trevor Horn, this is the first time the school had four D-I commits in the same graduating class.
"In the 73-year history of Garces Memorial High School football, there's never been a moment like this," Horn said at a signing ceremony held on the Garces football field Wednesday morning.
Defensive linemen Zach Buckey and JJ Uphold both signed to play at the FBS level. Like his father Jeff, Buckey will play at Stanford, while Uphold will look to get after Mountain West quarterbacks at the University of Wyoming.
Offensive lineman Aidan Meek and wide receiver Zion Hall will both stay in state to play at the FCS level. Meek signed with Sacramento State, while Hall officially became a member of the team at Cal Poly.
Speaking at the ceremony, players expressed a sense of relief, with Buckey and Meek both saying they doubted they would get to this moment on numerous occasions.
For Hall, Wednesday was also a testament to perseverance, as he recalled being told the Division-I level was beyond his reach.
“There’s one specific time where I had a phone call with a recruiter and he made it seem like there was no way I was going to be able to play D-I football," said Hall, who had 893 yards and eight touchdowns at Ridgeview last season. "And now that I’m able to say that I’m in that one percent of players playing D-I football, it just shows that if you put your mind to it and never let someone tell you what you can and cannot do, the sky’s the limit for you.”
The day was seen as a big win for the Rams, who hoped their loaded senior class would be able to bring some championship hardware to the school this fall. And while the possibility of playing in the spring remains, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to put the season on hold.
Though he would have liked to see it translate into on-field success in 2020, Ram coach Paul Golla said he still viewed Wednesday as a banner moment for the program.
"You talk about winning a championship, this is winning a championship," Golla said. "This is what we talk about, greatness and goals and having a proper mindset to reach those goals. What a wonderful, wonderful day."