At the beginning of my interview with Max Gersh (football, basketball and track), I posed the question, “Why do you play three varsity sports?”: “It’s just what I’ve grown up doing. School and sports: that’s my life.”
A Nov. 3, 1992 native-born Creeker, Max and older sister, volleyball/basketball standout Clare (CSHS ’07), are the two children of Carefree’s Cory Gersh and Creeker Cynthia Driskell. Clare is a rising senior at U of A. “Where’d your toughness come from, Max?”
“My Mom never babied us. Both our parents taught Clare and me to be mentally and physically tough.” Among Basketball Lady Falcons, Clare holds the “Most Black Eyes” record.
I was surprised to learn Max never played youth football; but under (then) Freshman Coach Kyle Sager and JV Head Coach Matt Mason, he caught on fast, lettering as both a sophomore and junior.
Max knows how to play only one way: flat-out! Nearing the end of the 1st half at Apache Junction last season, he ran down the Prospectors’ top runner to make a touchdown-saving tackle. Count on him to make big “D” plays this fall; and, as a slot receiver, Max will make his share of critical “in-traffic” catches. “Tough” he is – on both sides of the ball.
What does being a Football Falcon mean to Max? “The pride – and the honor – of just putting on the uniform … it’s a feeling that comes from deep inside. For me, football season is the best. Right now, I’m counting the days until we open against Cienga here on Sept. 3.”
Talk to me about “Senior Leadership” on this team. “Last year’s seniors were the best leaders Cactus Shadows has ever had; but without a doubt, we seniors are going to be everything they were – and more. You know who our core seniors are. We’re ready – and the others will get there.”
Team goals? “For sure, we’re going to make the State Playoffs; and I really believe we have the potential to win the State Championship.
On offense and defense, we’ve got to make the little plays that are the difference between winning and losing. Our team chemistry is stronger, and our communication keeps getting better – even before we put on pads next month. John (Leonard), Joree (Schneider), Gunner (Black), Kyle (Gladstone) and me: we’re gonna give Bryce (Kinsler) a great wide receiver group to work with.”
Personal goals for Max, a 2009 2nd Team All-Region DB: “I’m out to make 1st Team All-Region DB. I’m expecting to have a good ‘O’ year, hopefully earning 2nd Team wide receiver.”
I pried from Max that he’s also “tough” in the classroom, honors classes in Math and English netting him a 4.0 GPA. After graduation? “I’d like to follow my Dad and Clare to U of A; but I’m still thinking about playing football at the next level.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” No Falcon understands the truth of that adage better than Max Gersh.