After spraining his left hand and breaking the knuckle on his left pointer finger back in September, Gaithersburg right tackle Ben Rockwood had to get creative in his treatment of the injury. So before every practice and game, he first puts a glove on the hand and then wraps it with a thick knee pad. After those layers are applied, he has a trainer heavily wrap it all in tape, forming a club.
“I just forget about it when I play,” Rockwood said. “It hurts the day after, that’s for sure.”
Rockwood could easily quit on his team this time of season (he also suffered a high ankle sprain against Churchill four weeks ago), as this is the first Trojans’ team he has been on that is out of the playoff hunt in late October. Gaithersburg is 2-6, and has lost four straight. But the team continues to have one of Montgomery County’s best rushing offenses: Junior Solomon Vault has rushed for 1,087 yards and 16 touchdowns, and has run for 502 yards in the last three games alone.
The catalyst for Vault’s outbreak, at least according to Coach Kreg Kephart, has been the undersized (6-1, 225) but nasty Rockwood, whom Kephart believes is one of the best offensive lineman in the county. The senior has put off casting his mangled hand because he doesn’t want to limit his ability to block for Vault and he doesn’t want it to hinder his music career, which he said provides the real therapy for his injury.
An accomplished cello player, Rockwood is also the bassist for the alt-metal band EastDear Park, which embarked on its first tour this summer and just last week finished recording its first album out of Indigo Studios in Bethesda. For Rockwood, most days this fall have ended around midnight at the studio, where he has devoted all of his time following grueling football practices.
“I didn’t play bass for the first two weeks [after the hand injury]. Bass has been a rehab for my hand,” Rockwood said. “I’ve just been playing, and it’s just been doing better and better, because it’s so much movement… There’s no pain in music.”
Rockwood’s college football prospects are limited, but the right tackle isn’t interested in pursuing the game after high school anyway. He’d rather chase finding the right label with his band – but only after finishing the Gaithersburg season the right way. The Trojans will meet No. 11 Quince Orchard (7-1) on Friday, and then close the season with Wootton (4-4) next week.
“The juniors pretty much just have to build for next year, try to win these next few games, try to get the best record possible,” Rockwood said. “Seniors, I guess just try to make these last few games as memorable as possible.”