Saturday, September 17, 2011

Football Fun and Under New Management

It has been way too long since I last posted.

Last night we had one of the most thrilling regular season football wins of my 20 year career. It was a rival game, it was a region game, and it was quite a game.

Our early season schedule has been brutal for a team entering the season with a big ole target as the pre-season #1 team in 5A. Our guys know what that means- every one is laying for them.

How tough has the sledding been?

Three of our opponents- Eagles Landing, Center Point, and Chelsea have only one loss.... and that is to us. And these teams are wiping out the other competition.

Back to last night.... I was filled with years of memories regarding Briarwood vs Chelsea. How we used to play at the old Middle School field and I remembered sitting in that same press box for years.... Joe Craddock throwing passes..... and Tim Castille touchdowns. Our most thrilling game before last night was in the early 90's when Wilkins Webb hit Chad Morgan with about a minute left to play to give us a come from behind win at their place. But that was nothing like last night.

Chelsea is good- very well coached- and they fought us with intensity. They did have a few surprises for us on both sides of the ball and they played like there was nothing to lose. We anticipated a surprise onside kick to start the 3rd quarter and got it. But they kept onside kicking and got one to put us at a low point in the game in the mid 3rd quarter.

But this team has more resolve and resiliency than any high school team I have ever encountered- no doubt anchored in over 40 seniors who play and practice like hardened vets- but in all of our games this year, there is this deep calm that says- 'we will win', and everyone feels it. These are great young men to be around and they are a pleasure to coach.

I have to mention one other thing.... I sometimes hear people question two platoon football and whether it is better to play all/some of your guys one way- and there are times you can and times you can't- but this season is as good a testament as any of the value of fast paced, two platoon football. We have worn down 3 great football teams and dominated them in the 4th quarter- I firmly believe we would have 2 losses right now if it weren't for that fact.

Last night, we roared back from a 34-17 deficit with a little less that 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter to win 45-34. All of our guys made some heroic plays in the process. I am especially proud of our QB Ben Craft who has shown extraordinary leadership this season- he played like a champ- He went 22-33 for 242 yds and 3 TD's- no INT- He also rushed for 71 yds on 9 carries and averaged 35.7 yds a punt.

I am having a blast coaching one of the best receiving groups in school history. We had 6 guys make huge catches with Kelvin McKelvey making a diving catch for a score - Daniel Robert making big plays- Michael Lathem blocking with intensity, and Cole Pearson just using heart and hustle to get us going in the 4th quarter. They have been inspirational to watch.

So, it has been good to be home. I am happy that my old team is 4-0- I knew they were going to be good- I loved the schedule I put together going into the season- they are well coached and have added a real playmaker to a talented group of young, hungry football players- it would be fun for both teams to garner rings at the end of the season! I have no regrets about all that transpired and have learned to trust in God's plan.

My school job is amazing- everyday is a grand adventure. At some point I will be blogging about my Dean of Students experience- including one title 'Senior Retreat 2011- Seniors 1 and Dean of Students 0"- but the leadership at Briarwood is good and strong. Dr Mosbacker has an amazing way of encouraging me and supporting me and David Balik has been a true partner in the gospel. There is a strong sense in the leadership I am under right now of who we are and what we are about and a commitment to be who we say we are going to be. I go to work everyday with this deep sense of purpose and a strength that I am prayed for, appreciated, and supported.

Being back with Fred Yancey, Joe Craddock, Matthew Forester, Shane Harmon, Ernest Carroll, Chris Donnelly, David Hannah and many, many others is special.

Regardless of what happens next, I thank God for every minute I have with these coaches, players, students, and administrators.

Til next time.............

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