The Path to State

The+Path+to+State

Mitchell Hahn, Reporter

State Champions… the dreams of every high school football team in America at the start of every new season. Only a few teams make it to this level – only 14 teams from the state of Wisconsin. This 2019 football season your very own DeForest Norskies beat the Menasha Blue Jays to secure a division 3 state title.

A lot of people can’t imagine how much work and effort it takes to win a state championship, but I was one of the players in that 68-man roster who took home the gold ball and will tell you what goes into a state championship football team.

August 11th, the first official practice of the 2019 season. Most people see this as the start of the 2019 season, but for all the football players it started the 29 of October 2018. That Monday was the first weight lifting session after our devastating loss to Waunakee in the 2nd round of the playoffs of the 2018 season. For most of the juniors (who are now seniors) on the team, those feelings of heartbreak quickly disappeared, and were replaced with revenge, want, and determination. What I mean by this is that all the players knew the 2018 season was over, and the work for the 2019 season had just begun.

The Weight Room
Championship teams first start in the weight room. From October 29th, 2018 to July 31st 2019, all of the football players have been putting in countless hours lifting weights to get strong for football. Nine straight months of busting your butt off in the weight room lifting weights every Monday through Thursday.

Practice
The second part of great teams is having hard work in practice. We officially started practice on August 11th, but before during the two months of June and July many unofficial practices like 7 on 7’s or our annual Sun Prairie camp for three days. All of those practices were optional, but we still had huge attendance from our football team because we care and ‘want’ to get better. After this summer and the rest of the season hit; the bar did not lower, but rise. Every day in practice it was always a competition of young men helping each other to get better to achieve a common goal. This truly was the most hard-working group of guys I have been apart of my three years of high school sports. Especially the seniors who took everything seriously and practiced their hearts out.

Mindset
At the beginning of the summer the goal was clear; win state. Confidence is key in being successful, but never get cocky or you fail quickly. All the seniors told us their goals at the beginning of the season which were: Work hard, love your teammates, be 1-0 every week, undefeated, conference champs, and finally state champs. After these goals were set in place every guy on our team was sold and all in on the Deforest Norskies. The whole team had huge confidence in every person on that team which formed a wall that was hard to knockdown.

Relationships
Since 4th grade for all the guys on this team we have all been bonding with only our grades, but what helped us immensely in achieving our goal was the bonds we had. What I mean by this is since freshman year we all have been practicing together, working out together, but most importantly; forming friendships. The only way you are going to be successful on the field is if you trust the other 10 guys with you, and working out plus practicing together for 3 years plus allows you to form a bond that is hard to break once the season starts. I trust every guy on my team and would do anything for them.

All those things I just talked about are all components of a state football team that can all be taught, but one thing that can not just be taught; is work ethic. This by far has had the most impact on this team. Every young man has a great work ethic and will give their bodies on the line whether there was a really hard workout or practice, and will be there the next day ready to go get better again because they all care so much about the team plus their teammates. In the famous words of one of our Lineman coaches, Chris Tutor, “You can’t have success without work ethic.”