DL native plays key role in building winning college football program
By Harry Lipsiea
Andy Carr glances over at the wall in his Aberdeen, S.D., office. Hanging there is a picture of the 2011 Presentation College football team. The Saints' head coach admits that a lot has changed in four years.
In that time span, the South Dakota private college has went from not fielding a squad to currently sitting atop the North Star Athletic Association standings. Carr puts much of the credit to that success on the players that have been in the program since the beginning.
"We call those guys the original founding fathers of this football program," the head coach said about the players that played on Presentation College's inaugural team in 2011 and are still on the roster today. "Each of those young men have put in blood, sweat and tears to help build this thing. I can't say enough about them."
Among those athletes is Devils Lake native Sam Desai. A 2011 graduate of Devils Lake High School, who his coach refers to as 'Sammy D,' is a senior on for the 4-1 Presentation College team.
Carr remembers making a trip to northeast North Dakota to meet with Sam and his family during his senior year.
"I remember sitting down and telling them what we were planning to do invigorating the college by building a football program," the coach told the Journal in an interview. "Anyone who knows Sammy knows that he is always up for a challenge. He bought into what we were doing from the start."
Desai came to Presentation College as a linebacker. Later in his career, he made the transition onto the offensive side of the football as a running back. During his time at both positions one thing has remained: his contributions to the team's special teams units.
"He is the kind of kid that will do anything to help the team," Carr noted. "No matter what we need, he steps in and does his job. Because of that, Sammy has played a vital role for us on special teams. It's an extremely important role."
In addition to his contributions on the kickoff and punting units, Desai, who has been in on seven tackles, provides key depth in the team's extremely strong backfield. This season, he has gained 105 yards on the ground for the Saints.
"When his name is called to come in to play running back, Sammy comes in and does his job," Carr pointed. "And we don't lose a beat."
The senior's contributions to the program go beyond the field.
"He is a terrific young man from a wonderful family," the coach stated. "We are extremely fortunate to have him part of our program. He brings so many positive attributes as a person and as a football player."
As the program has continued to grow and pick up steam, it's been extremely important to have team leaders that know the program inside and out. Like Desai.
"When I first talked to Sammy about coming here, I talked about the vision of building something special for the school," Carr said. "He has put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to help build what we talked about. It's really come to life because of young men like himself."