Seniors reflect on roller coaster tenure with the Bucs football program

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Seniors reflect on roller coaster tenure with the Bucs football program

Buccaneer athletes celebrate after a much needed big play.

Buccaneer athletes celebrate after a much needed big play.

Carlos Rappleye

Buccaneer athletes celebrate after a much needed big play.

Carlos Rappleye

Carlos Rappleye

Buccaneer athletes celebrate after a much needed big play.

Jack Reus, Sports Editor

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The 2018 football season has come to an end for every athlete on the team, but for the seniors… it all comes to an end for good.  Which means no more practices, no more inside jokes with the team, no more two-a-days, no more Friday Night Lights.

 

The class of 2019 had a very different go around at high school football. They went through three coaches, didn’t have enough athletes to even make a J.V. team, and never had a winning season. But through all this adversity, the shining light was how much these young men truly loved the game of football and had each other, even when everything seemed to never go their way.

 

Each season in this coaching carousel has been a below .500 year, beginning with Jason Duram, then following Duram, Grand Haven hired heavily raved, coach Jason Tester who coached down south in Georgia. And lastly, head coach and Grand Haven native Joe Nelson was brought into the program. He still remains there today.

“You know it was rough at times with a revolving door as far as coaches go and not having the best record,” Senior, quarterback Collin Takas said. “But I’ve always loved the game of football and no scenario could pull me away from the game.”

 

Just how were these guys were able to stick it out and stay the course through all this adversity? Just when they started to feel attached to a coach, a new one would be brought in… a new coach with new ideas and new values. And another year of losing.

 

“Within the football program, we knew how hard we were working and that eventually we would be able to turn it around,” Takas said. “There was no self doubt within the locker room, we had all the same goals and would do whatever it took to achieve them.”

 

It is clearly evident that what kept these young men striving to get better and continue playing the sport they love was passion and a sense of family beyond the team.

 

“We grew really close,” senior center, Riley Walcott said. “We weren’t just teammates on the field, we were friends off the field as well. That allowed us to become family on and off the field.”

 

This idea of family has made for excellent team chemistry with this group of guys. They truly believe in what Coach Nelson is preaching and trust the process.

 

“It’s a building process,” Walcott said. “The seniors numbers weren’t great due to the fact of all the coaching changes and bumps in the road, like not having a J.V. team a few years back. People definitely shouldn’t think this [past] season was a failure, it was a turning point.”

 

It may have been a rough four years for these senior guys, but it was for a purpose. These guys feel that they helped set the bar for the future. A future of success and most importantly winning.

 

“I think that the senior class has done a great job setting the foundation for the future,” Takas said. “The team followed the lead of our seniors this year and the team will take what they learned this year and will have a very bright future.”

 

In a way, this football team sacrificed all the glory and the victory for themselves in order to help build and cement a successful football program in years to come. In order for these athletes to truly feel accomplished would be if Grand Haven in the next few years became an established winner and successful program. Knowing that all the work they put in led to a positive outcome.

 

“It would be very validating that all those hours you put in with your teammates during the summer paid off in the future success of our program,” Takas said.

 

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