There’s no I in team.
Team before me.
There are plenty of sports cliches about the team coming before any one player. But it’s one thing to say them and another to embody them. Trinity senior Laki Saafi embodies them.
Last season as a junior, Saafi was a first-team all-district inside linebacker. This year, his senior season, Saafi finds himself on the other side of the ball, playing tight end in an offense that doesn’t throw the ball very often. In this offense, it’s a very blue-collar position.
“It’s definitely a servant’s position,” Trinity coach Chris Jensen said.
Saafi was named the team’s offensive player of the week Friday in the Trojans’ 39-21 loss to Lewisville Hebron. Despite not having a single reception on the season, Saafi is having an impact, which is why Jensen sought to move him in the first place.
“It’s just that type of unselfishness that really helps teams,” Jensen said. “He put the team before himself. He’s obviously a really good linebacker, but chose to get out of his comfort zone and learn another position.”
The move was dictated by need; it was nothing against Saafi’s play on the defensive side of the ball. There was a hole, and Jensen asked Saafi to fill it.
“He had the size to do it. He wasn’t too big. He’s the right size and speed for a tight end that could be a dual threat,” Jensen said.
“He was open to it but had reservations. He knew that he wouldn’t be very good in the beginning — nobody ever is when they’re first learning a position. He thought about it a little bit and agreed to do it and take the lumps that come with it. He’s developed into a really nice part of our offense.”
And, not to mention, Jensen maintains the luxury of having a quality linebacker option in his back pocket should a need arise at that position.
“Could he do it, yes,” Jensen said. It’s a good comfort level knowing that you’ve got a kid that can get over there in a pinch and help you.”
Saafi and the rest of his Trojan teammates find themselves mired in a logjam of teams fighting for a playoff spot in District 6-5A. Trinity, along with Flower Mound and Trophy Club Byron Nelson, are all 2-3 and tied for fourth place in the standings behind Southlake Carroll, Hebron and Flower Mound Marcus. Carroll and Hebron have locked up playoff berths.
Trinity travels to Flower Mound this week before concluding the regular season by hosting Marcus on Nov. 3.