The season has come to an end for our area football teams. There might be a hint of disappointment on the player’s mind after the final horn sounded on Friday night. A sense of disbelief, a lowering of the head, and wondering where it might’ve gone wrong. Yet, no one in the area; players, coaches, parents or fans, should feel any disappointment over their team’s seasons. Rather they should have a sense of joy come over them.
The players gave it everything they had through the season. Storm Lake is a prime example of players feeling disappointed after a first round exit. The players had their heads down, and everyone who had stayed after the game told them to keep their heads up, to hold them high, and for a good reason. Parents and fans were discussing towards the end of the contest that they won’t realize what they’ve done for the Storm Lake community for sometime yet.
There will be a lasting impact for this year’s Tornado football squad. I’ve been re-reading Friday Night Lights as of late, and it got me to thinking about their season. For those who are unaware, Friday Night Lights was written over a year in a town in Texas that is consumed by football. Through the book it goes through the social impacts that the football team has in bringing everyone together to cheer on their beloved Panthers.
It got my mind rolling about how this Storm Lake team did the same thing. It united people from different walks of life, different backgrounds, to come together to support their sons on the field, their daughters cheering, and the school itself. Life is no fairytale, though, as Storm Lake couldn’t put that Disney end to their season, but neither did the Permian Panthers in 1988. Nor did Permian get to the finals like the movie would have you believe.
There is no reason for the loss to sting the players. I believe if the ball had bounced a little bit differently, the outcome would’ve been different. That’s just football. Sometimes you get a little luck and play a little better.
Luck, though, that always seems to play into a season for teams. Schools like Alta-Aurelia didn’t have much luck getting put into a district that saw three teams make the 1A playoffs. Three of the four losses the Warriors suffered were against those three teams in consecutive weeks. Then they reeled off four in a row to end their year with a winning record. Maybe if the district alignment would’ve been a bit nicer to the Warriors, they could’ve found themselves in the playoffs.
Again, call it a bit of bad luck they’re in this district for another year, but confidence might remain high for the Warriors as they seem to return quite a few players. Should be a rather interesting season next year for Alta-Aurelia.
Ridge View and Sioux Central both had a good shot at making the playoffs, but just had a difficult time shattering that win or two that would’ve put them into contention. Well, Ridge View was playing for that playoff life in their final week and just couldn’t quite show enough to get there. Sioux Central suffered a rash of injuries to key players that slowed down their season. The good news for the Rebels on that front is that younger players who might not have gotten a chance to play at all this year gained some valuable experience for next season at the varsity level.
Back to the luck factor for a second. Newell-Fonda, well, they weren’t touched by good luck in their playoff game. Rather, the bad luck of a referee blowing a whistle to kill a play that would’ve sent the Mustangs into the second round into a rematch against Harris-Lake Park. Granted, the Mustangs could’ve made earlier plays to seal the victory up, but when push comes to shove an an issue occurs like that, it’s just bad for the game.
The Mustangs had a great season and it was just ended in a heartbreaking fashion. That’s how football goes. It’s a cruel, cruel game filled with physical and emotional pain. Every area team has gone through it. To all the seniors, good luck with your future endeavors. To everyone returning, best of luck when you buckle up those chin straps next year.