Uniforms are ready, shoulder pads are waiting, and as if on cue, temperatures are dropping.
“This is a great group of guys who are working to come together as a team. It’s been an awful lot of fun working with guys who enjoy playing together.”
It’s no stretch to say that their practice time is work. The young men filling this year’s roster have been meeting since August 6, committing more than five hours a day to learning the playbook, running routes, defending the ball, and scoring points. With sixty-five students spanning three grades (five sophomores have been called up), Coach Burk said it’s evident that they all get along and love the game.
And while captains have not yet been chosen, natural leaders have begun to emerge. On defense, Dayton Wierenga is an energetic, emotional leader who brings enthusiasm and spark; when the team needs a lift, Dayton is there to encourage. Quarterback Hayden Majewski is stepping up and leading the charge down the field, while senior offensive lineman Keith Rodgers helps motivate groups and provide cohesion.
“One of the things that makes this group stand out,” said Coach Burk, “is their commitment to academics. This year the kids set goals for themselves individually, and then as a football team we set goals for the group. We’ve agreed that one of our top three team goals is for each guy to maintain a C+ or better in all their classes. That their focus remains in the classroom says a lot.”
In an effort to help his players maintain their focus both on and off the field, Coach Burk is taking a cue from wrestling coach Duane Watson by incorporating nutrition into team time. With the help of an army of moms, all sixty-five players get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich after school and a 16 oz glass of chocolate milk after practice. Newly crowned as one of the best natural recovery drinks available, the team consumes an average of 7 gallons of chocolate milk a day!
“Some of our kids have a very early lunch period,” Coach Burk explained. “If they’re eating lunch at 10:15, by the time school ends they need something to fill their bellies and help them think clearly. The effort of our team moms allows us to provide that, so by the time practice ends at 6:30, at least the boys have had something to tie them over.”
It’s that spirit of teamwork that epitomizes the 2012 Falcon Football Team: moms helping coaches, coaches helping kids, and kids helping one another meet their goals and become the best players and students they can be.
We hope you’ll cheer them on by joining them this Thursday at home for their 7 pm season opener vs. Unity Christian High School. Click here for a complete schedule of games.