Football traditions forge healthy team atmosphere
Newly hired coaches Walker and Corey pray with the Knights football team as they prepare to play in their second game against Rock Springs Christian School. Both Coach Walker and Coach Corey have coached as a profession in college and high school but have never gotten to experience the impact of coaching from a Christian perspective.
by Caroline Walker
With a record of 3-2 after only a month and a half of season play, the football team has already proven to be more successful than in past years. The past seven months have been used to prepare the team physically for the challenge of each game. As much as the team has worked to be physically prepared, other aspects of the game play a critical role in building team morale.
“Traditions bring the team together,” senior Will Howe said. “They’re a great way to form relationships, not just from player to player, but from coach to player, as well. They make the team function more like a family, which is always a mark of a successful program.”
Howe and other upperclassmen have led the team in creating new traditions this year as well as continuing old ones.
“My favorite team tradition is Taco Tuesday because it’s something that we do every week, and it’s a wondrous time,” junior Will Johnson said.
As starting quarterback, Johnson is considered one of the leaders on the team. He, along with Howe and several other seniors, guide the football team through stretches, drills and team bonding activities.
Team traditions draw everyone together, but certain positions in football have traditions of their own. Players and coaches offer incentives to encourage the players to work their hardest and perform their job well. The positions must individually triumph, so that the team can prosper and the overall program can prove to be successful.
“Before the first game, our running back agreed that if he got 150 rushing yards in a game, he’d buy all the linemen donuts,” Howe said.
The prize seems to work for the lineman. In the first football game of the season, starting running back senior Thomas Lubben rushed for over 150 yards under the Friday night lights. The following week, Lubben arrived at practice with six dozen donuts to share.
“I think the hardest and best change this season are one and the same,” Howe said. “Our team has stepped back and critically looked at the way we do things in order to optimize every detail in every practice, and it has been great to see everyone pursue such a high standard.”
Traditions have played a large part in the team’s success this season but so have the changes made in the spring and throughout the summer. The middle school and varsity teams were merged to create one large family.
“In the past, we haven’t had great leadership and, as a result, the mentality of the team was terrible,” Johnson said. “This year we have a winning mentality, and we are more determined than ever to win state.”
The team has consistently been selfless as they “show up, shut up and work hard” as offensive coordinator, Coach Scott Walker, reminds them daily.
“On Thursdays, we do a walk through early in the morning, so we can all go to the middle school football games and cheer them on,” Johnson said.
Cheering on the middle school team plays a large role in the community aspect of the team. The coaches have worked tirelessly to unite the teams under one goal: to play their hardest for the Lord.