CALUMET TWP. — Football season is almost here, and with opening games just two weeks from Friday, no team in the Region may be more eager than Calumet.
The Warriors planned to kick off their season at the stroke of midnight Monday, carrying their first workout of the year into the early morning hours on the state's first day of practice.
Coach Rick Good coordinated the unconventional event as a way to ramp up excitement for his third year with the program. At the conclusion of practice, he planned to feed his players breakfast at sunrise, and while it is tempting to overindulge, senior Clark Love will be watching what he eats.
Last season, the lineman weighed roughly 405 pounds and only appeared in a handful of games. Since then, he has dedicated himself to a healthier lifestyle, now weighing 291 pounds, and the expectations have increased. Good anticipates that Love will start on the offensive line and called him his best-conditioned lineman.
“Quite honestly, he was really an inspiration for our guys,” Good said. “Clark, as an older guy and upperclassman, set an example not only health-wise but workout regimen-wise. He obviously cut his diet, but having a kid in the weight room every day, working that hard, it’s nothing but a positive for your football team.”
Love said losing over 100 pounds was tough but explained that it really came down to discipline. He no longer consumes a lot of sodium and sugar and has cut out chips, bread and pasta from his diet. He also drinks more water and eats more vegetables and went on short jogs almost daily during the offseason.
Before changing his habits, Love said he only wore sweatpants because that is all that would fit. Now, he needs a belt to wear his jeans, and he thanks Andrew Trevino, an assistant football coach and assistant wrestling coach at Calumet, for pushing him.
“I originally wasn’t going to wrestle, but Coach Trevino said, ‘If you wrestled, you’d definitely be in better shape for football,’” said Love, who joined both programs last year. “I knew no one wanted a big lineman that couldn’t move well, so I decided to change my diet and really start putting in hours working out.
“Then, the pounds just started dropping off.”
Trevino wasn’t concerned with Love’s athletic potential when he recruited him for wrestling. In fact, Love never competed in a match last year because the heavyweight division is capped at 285 pounds.
The aim from Trevino’s perspective was to help Love find a purpose. Throughout his first two years of high school, Love admitted that he was a bit aimless and self-conscious about his image. Trevino thought if he showed him how to treat his body better, he could help Love give his overall life a new meaning.
“I could care less if he ever (officially) wrestles or wins a match or anything,” Trevino said. “He’s now walking around with 100 pounds off of his body and heart, and he’s going to be a healthier individual, hopefully for the rest of his life, because of it. That was more of my goal.”
Love said he owes a lot to Trevino, and following his life-changing year, he wants to lose a few more pounds so that he can finally represent the Warriors in wrestling. Before he competes on the mat, he is also preparing for what could be the final year of his football career.
Calumet finished 6-3 last year — its first winning season since 2014 — and Love hopes to build on it by helping the Warriors claim their first sectional title in school history. He knows that may sound impossible to those outside of the program, but at one point even the goals he had for his own life seemed insurmountable.
Regardless of if that dream comes to fruition, John Love, Clark’s father, is just happy that his son crossed paths with Trevino and Good. He commended both coaches for supporting Clark Love over the past two years, and he doesn’t think their effort should be taken lightly.
“The coaches at Calumet, they saved his life,” John Love said. “He went to the doctor, and the doctor told him he was looking at diabetes and really just a hard life if he kept going down this path. These coaches motivated him so much that he changed his whole lifestyle.”
Clark Love isn’t interested in being a poster boy for weight loss and doesn’t want his prep career to be defined by a scale. However, he appreciates anyone who uses his journey as inspiration and offered them one piece of simple advice.
“Take it one day at a time,” said Clark Love, who stands 6-foot-4 and wears a size 18 in shoes. “I didn’t lose 100 pounds in one night.”