by Zach Mason
At the request of Incarnate Word coach Clint Killough, Chance Trentman-Rosas stood in front of his teammates Saturday morning and shared some of his story with his teammates.
He talked about how he overcame hardships to be an active military member, nursing student and college football player just months after finishing his bachelor of science in biology.
For the slew of new transfer students in the locker room, it was an illuminating look into one of their new teammates and how his unrelenting work ethic made him a vital part of the program on the field and in the locker room. For the guys who’d been on campus for a while, it was a reminder of what they already knew – Trentman-Rosas is a high-character individual willing to sacrifice his own self interests to uplift those around him.
So when Killough took over the conversation and effused praise of the fifth year player before announcing his decision to put Trentman-Rosas on full scholarship, a cascade of ear-to-ear smiles fell on the faces of everyone in the room.
“I didn’t see it coming,” Trentman-Rosas said, “but I promise you, emotions were high.”
The fifth-year senior then did what anyone would do in this situation – call mom to share the news.
“I said ‘Hey, we did it. It’s stress-free now.’ She started bawling her eyes out right away. She said ‘I’m so proud of you.’ She was just in tears.”
A Long Journey
Trentman-Rosas was a talented player at Clear Springs High School, but suffered a spiral fracture during his senior season that required seven screws and a plate that remain in his leg today.
The injury limited his playing options after graduating, but he managed to earn an opportunity to walk on at the University of the Incarnate Word, a rising program in the FCS ranks.
He went on to play four seasons in that capacity for the Cardinals, filling important roles on special teams to help UIW reach new heights for the program on a year-to-year basis. In spite of his contributions, he was still paying for his tuition until Killough, in his first year as head coach, rewarded him with the full scholarship.
Trentman-Rosas said he recognizes how far he came from being a recently graduated high school senior with a broken leg and scarce opportunities to continue playing the game he loved.
“Telling that young kid, hey, you’re going to earn [a scholarship], I don’t know that I would believe myself,” he said. “But I would believe in myself to get the job done.”
“Living the Dream”
Student-athletes across the country carry unenviable workloads and often share the mental and physical stresses of balancing academics and athletics. Few of them have the schedule Trentman-Rosas looks forward to every day.
With the biology degree already in hand, Trentman-Rosas is pursuing an accelerated bachelor’s of science in nursing that’ll place him on track to graduate in December of next year.
The expedited pace means Trentman-Rosas will be taking eight classes this fall while continuing to study film, practice, travel with the team, play in games, and once a month, head into work as a lieutenant in the Texas Army National Guard for two-to-five days for a drill weekend with his unit.
“I kind of wake up every single day, coaches ask me how I’m doing and I say ‘Living the dream,’ ‘cause I wouldn’t want to change it for the world,” Trentman-Rosas said.
The ever-cheerful disposition in spite of an overwhelming workload has led teammates to ask Trentman-Rosas questions about how exactly he gets everything done.
“They always try to pick my brain about ‘Oh, what’s that like, what’s this like?’” he said. “But, in the end, I put my pant legs on one at a time just like everybody else, so. Nothing too crazy at all. It’s always nice to share my experiences with them.”
Finding the End Zone
Trentman-Rosas’ positive impact isn’t limited to what he does off the field. In his time at UIW, he’s served as an invaluable part of all four phases of special teams.
But playing exclusively on special teams doesn’t yield Trentman-Rosas many opportunities to score touchdowns. Against Houston Christian last season, he defied the odds once more.
Then-head coach G.J. Kinne told the special teams unit to go ahead and attempt to block an HCU punt. Trentman-Rosas said he was confident the group could get it done. Seconds later, defensive back Micahh Smith burst through the punt protection unit and got a hand on the ball.
“I kind of blacked out for a second,” Trentman-Rosas said. “I found myself catching the ball right in the end zone and celebrating.”
In that moment, Trentman-Rosas did something so few college football players get to do – let alone walk-ons or special teams specialists – he scored a touchdown in a Division I football game.
“The adrenaline rush was insane and celebrating on the sideline afterwards, it was awesome,” he said. “It was probably the coolest football experience I’ve ever had.”
One Last Ride
While Trentman-Rosas will have another year of eligibility left after the conclusion of the upcoming season, he’ll have to hang up his cleats as his nursing school program intensifies next year.
The incipient conclusion of his football career comes with mixed emotions. Leaving the game he loves behind after pouring his soul into it for years, culminating with a coveted scholarship entering his final season, is only outshone by the prospect of fulfilling his calling in life.
“It’s very bittersweet,” he said. “I love the game to death, that’s why I came back to it. The coaching staff is phenomenal. The connections with all the players and just being close to everybody. It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye, but it’s worth it.”
Trentman-Rosas said he wants to use his last year to leave a legacy within the program. He is locked in on winning a national championship after coming within four points of playing for one last year, but ultimately, he wants his Cardinal teammates to remember how far hard work can take them.
“I took until Year 5 to earn a scholarship,” he said. “The hard work, the extra meetings, the extra time you put in before and after practice, the grinding on scout team, whenever you gotta give the starters a look, it’s worth it. I want others to know to give it time and trust the process, because it’s worth it in the end.”