Husky coaches, seniors reflect on 10-1 season

More important than coaching the X’s and O’s in team sports is teaching the lessons that go along with building rapport between teammates.

Coach Rob Younger had to do his primary work in the lockerroom after watching his players suffer through the sting of the defeat against Marist.

“We never went into the season thinking the destination was going to be our lifeblood,” said Younger about his 10-1 Huskies. “It was the journey along the way. Just because we came up short one Friday night in a quarterfinal football game doesn’t make these kids losers. It’s one of the best teams in Sweet Home history.”

One part of the journey is building character that can handle the adversity that the Huskies faced with key injuries that were out of their control and now this tough loss to Marist.

“This team really showed the character it takes to get through those bad times,” said Younger. “Because of that, they are going to be successful in whatever they choose to do.”

Younger emphasized that wins and losses won’t be the most important thing that these players will remember in the years to come.

“They will remember the relationships they built and just being part of a team and doing something special,” stated Younger. “This senior class and the football team in general were a very special group of young men that made the commitment and sacrifices to be successful.

They really enjoyed one another.”

The emotional letdown of not being together might be the greatest loss the team will have to overcome.

“Football is over,” observed Younger. “The relationships will continue to go on, but the special bond that they get from the daily struggle and competing with one another is over. The bond was terminated in a way.”

Younger thinks that once the players dealt with the initial despair of defeat, they rebounded extremely well in the team meeting following the game.

“We just started talking about all the good times that we had and the positive things that they did,” said Younger. “They have their heads on straight and their priorities right. It won’t take long to refocus and get on with life.”

Younger noted that for the kids to make the commitment they did to the program took courage because it goes against the cultural values of individualism, me-first, and beating somebody down to get ahead in life.

“What these guys chose to do was go against those worldly principles that are so prevalent and do the things it takes to be a team,” stated Younger. “There’s not a lot of young men in today’s society that are willing to do that.”

Younger asked them early in the season what kind of football team they wanted to be. From their actions, it is clear that they chose to be a band of brothers. From day one in daily doubles, they talked about what brothers are and how brothers love one another.

“They don’t always get along with each other and yet they overcome the strife because of their love for each other,” said Younger. “That’s what this team has done all along and they truly are a bunch of brothers. They have all shared a meaningful and wonderful four months of experiences that have made them better men.”

Fittingly, their last act together as a football team was to raise their arms up together in a huddle and call out, “Brothers!”

Senior reflections

Sky Brown: I wish it would have lasted longer. This team is really special even though we didn’t go as far as we wanted to. We have become like family.

Donny Cliver: We didn’t reach our final goal, but there is something about football and playing with these guys that is hard to explain. There is really a special bond with the 15 seniors.

Tyler Emmert: I wouldn’t want to end it with any other group of guys. I have respect for everybody with whom I played year after year, game after game.

Ronnie Garcia: We had high hopes and goals, so it’s real tough. We still have the memory of it, and we have a really close bond.

Seth Graves: It’s been the most fun of my life and it was the most fun game because of the intensity level. The loss wasn’t as big as the fact that I wasn’t going to be a high school football player anymore and was leaving all those guys.

Matt Harkey: The program is great and the people around it are all good. It’s just a family environment.

Ricky Howe: Deep down, I had too much fun to get worked up over the game. We didn’t accomplish our number one goal, but we did accomplish a lot of our goals. All in all, this the best group of guys I’ve ever played a team sport with.

Rob Martin: I wasn’t disappointed. If we wouldn’t have had all these injuries, then it might have been a different story. But I’ve developed a lot of relationships with guys I would do anything for and they would do anything for me.

Tim Matuszak: Obviously, it was a huge disappointment, playing seven years with your best friends and have it end like that.

Brandon Miner: I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sweet Home football means the world to me. It will probably be one of the greatest memories of my life.

Charles Murray: I can’t really call it a loss for myself. I focused on what we got accomplished. I had to make a big decision whether to play this year with my shoulder injury and I made it through.

Mack Reynolds: I learned how to develop good, solid friendships fast in the one year I played. The coaches were great.

Tomas Rosa: It’s been a long time with these guys, four years with Dick Reynolds and four at the high school. I don’t think too many schools can duplicate the whole winning tradition that we have, staying together with one goal in mind.

Mike Severns: It just didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Just a bad day I guess. I have always looked forward to the next season, but now there isn’t one. I have still made lifelong friends and have a lot of good memories.

Matt Zollman: We put the effort forth. We had the heart all game. As intimidating as they were, they had to fight for everything they got. We didn’t give up an inch.