When Omar Gutierrez missed school at Estancia High last week, Coach Mike Bargas understood why he was out. It was not the first time the senior was absent this school year.
Earlier this month, Gutierrez said he did not attend school because it hurt too much to sit down in a chair. He injured his lower back in a football game on Sept. 30. The setback sidelined him for a few days in the classroom and one game on the field.
The pain was so excruciating that Gutierrez found it hard to do something he does before each game.
"I didn't even suit up because I couldn't put on my pants," Gutierrez said.
The back was not the only part of his body that bothered Gutierrez the night before the Eagles played Godinez last week.
He was getting chills during practice. He was not nervous about playing a then-undefeated Orange Coast League team in the Grizzlies.