Fighting Through Frustration

Small numbers and lack of size contribute to first losing season in three years.


Egan Smith

Marquel Poole ’18 escapes an oncoming defender during the Little Hawks’ season closer against Davenport North.

Egan Smith, Reporter

A series of obstacles led to an atypical season for the two and seven Little Hawk Football team. One of those obstacles being the disbelief from the press.

“We overcame a lot of doubt as reporters wrote us off in almost every game,” Zach Jones ’18, the leading wide receiver, said.

In addition to external barriers, when it came to game time, the Little Hawks faced many physical barriers as well.

We can scheme all we want, but in a physical game it’s hard to win some [games] when the other guy is just stronger and more powerful than we are.” Head Coach Dan Sabers said.

Quarterback Bryce Hunger ‘18 is also frustrated with the team’s numbers this year.

“We had to deal with not having a very big team given the fact that not many people went out, but it is what it is.”

Although the team’s lack of size was a challenge throughout the season, Coach Sabers believed his players dealt with their circumstances.

“That was one of the biggest challenges we had to overcome and kids responded very well to that.”

Coming off of a playoff-advancing season last year, but having lost key members of that squad, this year’s team was forced to scramble to fill some large gaps.

“Well we certainly wanted to win more, there’s no question about that. We’re just not used to 2-7 seasons,” Sabers said.

The team might not have been satisfied with their record, but players like Zach Jones remained motivated by other factors.

I can’t say that I’m satisfied with how the season turned out, but I can say I’m satisfied with my team, coaches, and players for sticking it out and fighting hard throughout the whole season.” Jones said. He continues on the relationship of the team and the atmosphere they created this year.

“We actually came together well as a team this year and built a strong family-like relationship.”

Instead of getting discouraged by their win-loss ratio, this year’s squad chose to celebrate the small victories along the way.

“Winning homecoming is always special.” Sabers said.

In addition to believing in praising his team’s small victories, Coach Sabers recognizes that larger life lessons can be drawn from football. He wants the values his players develop on the football field to stay with them even after the season ends.

You look at the Josey Jewell’s of the world and they are just constantly competing. I want to talk to the kids a lot about that and get a competitive nature going. That you compete no matter where it is, whether it’s in the classroom or against yourself. If I can get that attitude going then they’ll learn how to compete in the weight room, compete in their nutrition, because they’ll know how important it is.”

Zach Jones displayed that competitiveness by breaking multiple records this season including the school record for most receptions in a game, most yards and receptions in a career, and most receptions in a single-season. He ended the season with 77 receptions for 1,045 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“[It] felt great to know that you’re number one in your specific category,” Jones said.