A view from my side.
Our race for the Ring ended this weekend with the State Championship match being played yesterday. We won the semi final match, 7-2, against a talented team. The boys looked good. They played well. They had fun. They seemed relaxed and ready the night before. They warmed up well. The whistle blow to start the match. When it blew to end it, we had lost, 1-0.
There has already been a lot of talk about the poor officiating. But champions, true champions, play above the officials. They realize it is part of the match and they adapt. They do not allow the officials to take them out of their game. They make the allowance of a “12th” opponent and they play the game.
We looked good for about 10 minutes. We controlled and set the pace for about that long. Then it started. The non-calls and the whistles against us. The boys started pulling out of tackles and started to lay off challenging for the ball. The other team capitalized on that and took control of the match. They forced us to play their game. Once that happens, it is difficult to recover. Our game deteriorated from there as the other team took us out of our game.
If you look at our season overall, the boys have much to be proud of. The team was 23-3-3. We are a small 4A school, with fewer than 300 students. Over the course of our season, we:
If I told a team this is how their season would end…with those statistics and a 2nd place State trophy, I think most would teams would be very happy with it. Most teams would say “hell yeah!” and start the celebration. Not so with this bunch. This one hurt. These boys wanted this year’s Ring so badly they could taste it.
Perhaps their pursuit of the title overwhelmed their desire to have fun and play a game. Which it is, after all. A game. The Ring went to the team that deserved it yesterday. My hat is off to them. They played their game and took us out of ours. They rose to the occasion and took the Ring.
But in hindsight…we had a great year. Thanks, boys, for the memories.