Saturday, November 10, 2012


The beauty of a small school is the tight-knit community that it creates.  K-12 building, parochial school just a walk away, and a whole bunch of parents/grandparents showed up in the gym yesterday for the biggest (as-of-yet) game in Potosi football history.

125 kids in the high school.
46 out for football.
A chance to be a part of something greater than yourself.

Yesterday we were one game away from the State Championship.  People were of course pretty excited!
 Hunter led the Wave........
 ...the Student Council led the cheers.....

 ...and Coach Siegert asked the elementary school students to scream as much energy as they could, to transfer to the team.  They did not disappoint!!
 "We are on a collision course with success.  The only factor is time."  The coach shared that truth with his team and coaching staff back in 1999, and he has never wavered from that belief.  0-9, 1-8, 2-7...doesn't matter.  Just keep working at it, keep working, nothing fancy, just hard work and a desire to be excellent.
 The little girl in the middle of these first graders started a cheer that erupted all of the way down the hallway, as the entire K-12 student body marched into the gym for the pep rally.  Her teacher told me, "She's a little cheerleader.  She could lead the whole pep rally!" Gee, I wonder who she's related to;)
Justin spoke on behalf of the seniors and asked for everyone's continued support and enthusiasm for the game.  He also asked us all to say "Thank you, Coaches".  I am very proud of the way these young men have conducted themselves in the hallways and classrooms at school.  They do not brag; they just go about their business and are thankful for the opportunities they've been given.  

 Elementary student cards were given to the players, and high-fives were given at the end of the pep rally... was fun to go through the line and encourage the team personally before the big game!  I told the guys, "One more week!!"  Let's keep this thing's been 19 years for Mark and me, 14 as head coach in Potosi.  We are enjoying the ride.
 One of our high school seniors sang the National Anthem, and Cy's I-pod provided pre-game and game-time music to make it feel like home.  The stadium is certainly well beyond what we are used to at home, but the crowd made it feel like Potosi!  We had a GREAT turn-out, beautiful weather, and enthusiastic fans.  What more could you ask for?
 The opening minutes were shaky.  Big-time game, big-time jitters.  A fumble on the 9-yard-line, an easy touchdown for the opponents, and then another touchdown by a very, very quick and gifted athlete.
 Our boys were not shaken.  They are a team, a community.  They pick each other up and go back to work.
 We moved the ball on the ground and in the air very well, once we settled down.
 Our defense had not allowed a point in the first quarter all season.  We were down 14 points in the opening quarter this time around, so it was a new thing for us, but we were not to be denied.  We made some huge defensive stops (including a key interception in the 2nd quarter) and pounded the ball at them.
 The crowd was awesome.  I was so proud to be a part of it all!
 When I wasn't crying while searching frantically for Wynne at halftime, I was crying with pride at the fourth quarter unfolding.  We had tied it 14-14 and were battling back.
 I never doubted in this game.  God was in control of it all and had been working on these moments unfolding long before this night.  The season was dedicated to Adam Alexander, a senior on the team that didn't win a game 10 years ago, who a year ago was critically injured while serving our country in Afghanistan.  The community rallied around Adam and his family, and our team doesn't take for granted the chance they have to play this game because of soldiers like him.
 The team was led onto the field at our first home game by Keith, a student of Mark's with special needs and severe health conditions that have led him to being pushed around in a wheelchair.  It was Keith's birthday yesterday, and he is one of our biggest fans....
 I felt a surprising calm and determination as I watched the team battle back and win the momentum.  We were on a collision course with success.
 Family members from both sides were there to watch it happen, among hundreds of other community supporters.
 We ended up scoring 16 points in the last quarter.  It was EPIC!!  I snapped a picture of the hard-working manager doing his job in the closing minutes.  I'm so proud of the focus and work he's given to this team.
 We stormed the field immediately after the clock ran out.  30-20!! We won the game!!!!!
 We are going to STATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 This is a man who does not get overly emotional about much.  He is level and rides the circumstances (be they negative or positive) on an even keel.  No one can begin to fathom how much time, thought, prayer, and work this man puts into this program.  Nobody.  To see him celebrate just a little bit, this is not an everyday occurrence!

 It is so gratifying to see the tears, to feel the emotion and realize that all the hard work you've put into the little moments, the days of training--all have finally paid off.  And to have your family and friends, former players -- now some grown men -- and THEIR parents -- hugging you and sharing in your moment.  It was a community moment that will be cherished forever.

 WIAA Division 7 Sectional Champions.

 This year's coaching staff has been a mix of youth and experience.  Mark feels much gratitude for all of their hard work and friendship over the years.  There are other coaches that have been a part of this that are not in this picture, but they are a HUGE part of this, too.
 Cousins play football on the beautiful field right after the game...
...while the team's biggest cheerleader hugs her daddy during yet another press interview.

 Families gather to celebrate...
...and we, for one, just thank God for this moment of community.

Don't just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.--Romans 12:9-10


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