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FAREWELL TO FOOTBALL

October 16, 2018

While some were reluctant to say goodbye to the freedom of summer, others had nothing but enthusiasm towards the next season and who it brings, the boys of fall. Over the course of three months, the Spartan football team has grown closer to eleven hard working, dedicated senior leaders. These players have given countless hours, blood, sweat, and tears to this program and after four years, we sadly must say goodbye.

Three year starter and award winning offensive lineman, Maxwell Crank has accumulated many precious memories with one in particular to stand out. His most highly regarded memory was, “beating Richmond my junior year in overtime,” Crank stated. “We hadn’t won in so long. The excitement was amazing,” Crank concluded. After a lifetime of football, Crank has learned many valuable lessons. One of which being, “to always have your teammates back because he is your brother. Don’t quit on the game because eventually you won’t be able to play it anymore.”

Next, his lifelong teammate and friend, defensive lineman, Clayton Fox said, “Over the course of my football career I’ve learned a lot. The main thing that I learned is if you want something bad enough, work for it and it will pay off.” Now that the next step of his high school career is wearing a cap and gown with his class, he leaves by saying, “Just stay with it because by your senior year it is well worth it and you make a lot of good memories.” Similarly, offensive lineman, Brenden Robinson added, “My advice is to never give up and to keep listening and keep learning. There is always something new to learn.”

Fourth, first year player, Connor Smith has found a love for the game in the short amount of time he has played. “I mostly learned how to play defensive lineman on the team. I try to tackle the person who has the ball.” His favorite memory has become his first Junior Varsity game. “It was memorable because it was the first actual game of football I’ve ever played,” Smith stated. His advice to younger players is a lesson that he taught himself by taking the risk and the chance to play football. It is, “to always try something new because you don’t know what your good at until you try.”

Fellow teammate and an outstanding leader of the defense, Zach McQueen has learned, “to get through the tough stuff on and off the field and keep going. Also, I learned to never give up no matter how hard it is.” A memory of Zach McQueen that will never be forgotten is the moment he received an interception. “This is important because I don’t know many linemen with a pick under their belt,” McQueen said. After playing football for a decade, he has realized that football is a game that represents life. “My advice to younger players is stick with football because not only does it teach you football, it also teaches something about life,” McQueen advises.

Next, after four years of displaying positivity through the good and bad times, outside linebacker, Brent Jones will definitely be missed. Not only has Jones had an impact on the field, but on his teammates as well. Jones has learned to, “give the younger kids time to adapt to the changes of being in high school sports.” Also, Jones advises, “Enjoy the time you are able to play because it won’t be there forever. Play your heart out every play because it might be your last.” Fellow award winning outside linebacker, Breydan Schafer has learned, “you always have to play hard.”

For three years, the Spartan defense has been under the leadership of Jacen Beckman and Shane McClain. At the middle linebacker position, these men have been able to make a true difference. An example would be their outstanding performance in the competition against the Richmond Red Devils in the 2017 season; each of them making the crucial plays to decide the fate of the game. However, their teammates credit them with their greatest accomplishment being the leadership they have shown through every win and loss. “I have learned it takes more than just showing up and playing to be successful. You need to put work in throughout your years here and in the summer,” Beckman believes. McClain pinpointed what he has learned to be, “how to adapt to different situations when our rosters change. I’ve learned how to recover from failure and how to capitalize on success.”

Next, wide receiver, Shane Smith has battled through many injuries in order to step out onto the field underneath the Friday night lights. However, as Smith finishes his final, senior season, the injuries he was forced to endure have become lessons that have taught him to, “work hard, be smart, and don’t use your head to tackle.” Lastly, Varsity leader, Warren Toole reflects on not only their successes, but their struggles by saying, “I have learned to never give up no matter how bad things might look.”

After four seasons and many games, these eleven men are leaving with many great memories. “Every moment has been one to never forget,” Toole concludes. While the team’s record has struggled with loss, the true accomplishment of these seniors is creating a brotherhood that will carry on forever.

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