Originally published in The Paw Print
by Niyah DeJohn, guest writer
photo by David Brondfield
Heading into Homecoming weekend with an 8-0 record, the varsity football team has built a strong bond which is what has been carrying them through this successful season.
Assistant coach Matt Mihalik believes the returning starters have made the biggest difference this year. He said, “The players have built a bond that has allowed us to add more offense and defense which would not have been possible without their previous experiences.”
Last year’s varsity team went 5-5 in the regular season, so with eight wins and two games remaining, there’s an obvious shift in confidence. Senior Heath Brandenburg notices the difference and even credits the student section for backing the team with their “intense energy.” Brandenburg said, “Everyone is very involved with the team and all the activities along with it.”
Senior Joey Suchy has been the team’s primary running back and thinks there are things each player must bring to the team in order to be successful. He said, “I have to bring leadership and energy to the team to make sure that we come out and perform every week.”
Brandenburg also reiterates that as a player you must play for the team, building chemistry and trust throughout the season. He said, “I am more quiet, but I let my actions speak louder than my words. I just do my job for my teammates.”
As a coach, Mihalik said he brings wisdom to the players. “We are not only able to talk about different coverage and blockage on certain players but we also remind the players that in order to bring success to the team, they must play for each other,” the young coach said.
Suchy thinks a team’s chemistry is more important in a sport like football. He said, “In football you have to work hard in season and offseason but the chemistry that is formed over time between the teammates plays a major role in the game.”
Mihalik also notes the team’s full-year commitment to the sport. He said, “Because this is a year-round sport the players have to spend lots of time together. The seniors have demonstrated great leadership by setting an example and taking time to mesh with the younger kids on the team.”
The Wildcats take on Eastlake North this Friday night in the Homecoming game. The game begins at 7pm at Wildcat Stadium.