What an atmosphere and what a game last Friday night at Van-Far when the Indians football team took on rival Bowling Green.
The stands were packed, fans were standing everywhere, cars lined the outer road, and the players from both teams took us on an emotional roller coaster ride that many of us will not soon forget.
The Van-Far/Community R-VI football players were focused, came out hitting, and literally left everything they had on the field.
These young men gave it their all and sucked wind through the final buzzer and that is all the fans and coaches can ask of these players.
What this team showed us Friday night and what they showed the EMO Conference is that this program has turned the proverbial corner.
Through offseason weight lifting and conditioning, success from athletes on a state champion track and field program, their relentless effort, ability to not get caught up in emotions or complaints, and their ability to make adjustments during a game, have really turned this group of Indians players into something special.
While the players and coaches are no doubt upset they let this game get away from them late, I hope the collective group realizes what really happened on Friday night.
Opposing players and coaches can no longer look at the Indians on their schedule and feel overly confident for a game against Van-Far/Community R-VI.
These young men have made their mark in a way we can all be proud of; they are not getting all high and mighty on themselves.
These players are letting their play speak for itself on the field.
If you see a coach or a player this week, be sure to tell them that you too notice a difference in this squad.
I had the honor of speaking to the Indians football team in the locker room before their game against Bowling Green on Friday night. I’m forever grateful to Coach Baldwin for giving me the chance to talk to this group of young men.
I’ve enjoyed watching them this year and have been so pleased with how coachable these players have been. Coaches ask them to do something and they just go out and do it. No complaining, no excuses.
In my speech, I just told them how I see it…This is by far the best Indians football team in my decade covering the sport for “The Vandalia Leader.”
While other teams have had some talent, none of the other teams played this well together.
They are led by a lot of athletic ball carriers, strong tacklers, and solid players giving effort all game long on both the offensive and defensive lines.
This team still needs your help this week.
Any time you play a rival and lose the way the Indians did last Friday night, it takes a few days for the team to shake off the loss and get ready for another quality opponent.
The Indians will be taking on a Wright City team on the road that has a .500 record. They beat Winfield 35-20 and Mark Twain 41-21. They also lost a close one to Southern Boone 31-28 and were outmatched by South Callaway 48-6.
And this team likes to pass a lot…
Remind the players when you see them this week that they need to hold their heads high. Tell them you were proud of what you saw Friday night and encourage them that the time to refocus is now.
They have the chance to pick up a second EMO Conference win this Friday night but they need to remember their business-like approach they had last Friday night and carry it over to their game this week.
I have never seen a more focused Indians football team than what I saw last Friday night.
I saw it in the locker room before the game and that confidence they had carried into warm-ups and into the game itself. My hope is for the boys to remember how that felt and take it with them to Wright City this week.
Go get’em Indians!