The worst was yet to come and that would be the post-game talk (or ass chewing) that we were all about to acquire for embarrassing ourselves and our coach on our home field. As we walked in to the locker room, I could see the defeated faces we all had, and it made me feel even worse. Maybe I could have done more, maybe if I would have made one more tackle we would have had a chance. Our coach waited until we all made it to the locker room and looked as if he was going to yell at us, but he simply couldn’t bring himself to do it as he looked at our disappointed faces. He stood in the middle of us, telling us to gather around. He said, “Suck it up, we all have to be strong for one another!” From then on out practices were much harder, but they had to be. We had a new quarterback and new running back so we had to get accustomed to their playing styles. The newest thing about practice was that the coach didn’t let anyone get special treatment, even the star players. He didn’t allow any of us to get too big in the head or have too much hubris.
We went on to lose more games during the season. It was demoralizing as we started to lose support and confidence from our fans and fellow classmates. We even saw this implosion from within the team as we had doubts about this “new quarterback”. The turning point approached as we were beat by our rivals the North Gwinnett Bulldogs. At one point we were beating them 17-3, but somehow we got lazy during the second half and ended up losing 31-20.That was a big blow to us because from then out we had to win all of our games so we could be top in our division, and guarantee making it to the playoffs. The next practice our coach came down on us hard. He took everyone who was a starter and benched them and for the next few games the people who were second string (myself included) were the starters. What thus then happened amazed our coach, he basically gave up on the season after benching the starters to teach them a lesson, but we won all 7 of our games and claimed our spot in the playoffs as the division leader.
We then won all three of our playoff games and we made our way back to the state championship game. This was a really important game, my last high school football game, the last game with guys. I had really gotten close to them over the past 4 years. The most important thing was apparent: this was my last chance to show scouts from other schools what I could do, and once my teammates and I found out what team we were playing for the state championship we were as happy as we were worried. It was the Bulldogs, one of the only teams to beat us, our rivals. The fact that we were facing them made this future win and championship that much sweeter. As we ran out on that field as teammates and brother’s one more time we all knew that we had to get this win to redeem ourselves and our team. The game started out with us losing