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November 25, 2006

Wickenburg Ends Season One Play Away

Last year it was Wheeler taking a bootleg for 70 yards to demoralize Wickenburg, this year it was Wheeler stepping through an All-State Linebacker's sack and throwing a bomb on 4th and 19 to beat Wickenburg. Jeff Alder had Jesse Wheeler on 4th and 19 sacked, but credit Wheeler with being able to step through a sure sack and throw a prayer downfield to break the 14-14 tie.

I saw Jeff after the game and after the kids came out of the locker room following a painful loss. What a kid and what heart he has shown all year long for Wickenburg. Of all the players, he is probably my favorite. He leaves everything he has on the field every single game and inspires the best in his teammates. The last thing I said to him was how proud we all are of him and his hard work and that the team and he have done us proud. I told him that their hard work has paid off and it is an awesome trophy that they are bringing home tonight.

Coach Vaughan talked to us three weeks ago and said that the thing about football is that most times, the most talented team wins. Credit Wickenburg for even being close to Coolidge. Coolidge was incredible. Fast. Strong. At times overpowering. But Wickenburg showed great heart and character. The same that beat Blue Ridge and Seton. Coolidge was just a better team. Too much speed.

I loved the opportunity to work the sidelines with these kids and get to know them. Clay coached them when they were Freshmen. Every single kid out there for Wickenburg has shown class and character. They are good kids. After the game, they thanked us over and over as we congratulated them for supporting them and following the team. We don't deserve your thanks. You deserve ours. You were inspiring. My boys and baby brother have spent almost every Friday night watching you play and come home and talk about Scott or Drew or Jeff or Tyler or... I have watched the kids get better every week. And go 13-1. The one loss was in the last game, but is not what will be remembered. What we will remember is four months of watching great kids represent us with class and character and come within a broken busted bomb on 4th down of winning a state title.

It is a beautiful trophy. And over the years, I will be able to take my kids to the school and point to it and to the banner that will soon be hanging at the high school and remind them of that team. I know every single kid on that team gave it everything that they had and came up just short of winning a championship. I am just as proud of them as I would be if they won it all. I have never been more proud of a group of kids for representing my school, my home, and my community than these kids.

Posted by Justin at November 25, 2006 12:39 AM