The football team carried home another great season with the help of their coaches and plenty of hard work.
The Thomas Jefferson Spartans have completed yet another great football season. Finishing the regular season with a record of 9-1, the Spartans made it to round one of the playoffs. After taking home the win against Stanley Lake in the first playoff game, the team made it into the “Sweet Sixteen,” which is the second round of playoffs.
With a win streak of eight since the start of the season, the first loss to Ponderosa was tough on the team. Senior Doren Sacha said one of the biggest challenges the players faced was “learning how to take a loss. We took our first loss late in the season, so we had to learn how to take it and bounce back.” After the first loss, they certainly bounced back by beating South the following week, and continuing on with two more wins after. On the other hand, the Ponderosa game was also one of the best learning games of the season. One of the coaches, Woodie Bonner, said the loss “made us tighter. It’s more beneficial than going with an undefeated season because you get one loss out the way and we don’t want to feel that anymore.” While no one wants to lose a game, losses are a great way to learn what is working and what needs to be improved to further succeed.
This year’s team heavily consisted of seniors. The team really focused on standing together and not giving up on eachother. “The seniors want to put the underclassman in good standings and in a good position for the upcoming seasons.” Bonner stated. A common attitude between the team is that a big reason for such success was their ability to come together and work not only as a team but as a family. Senior Roman Tupper-Brown says that his favorite part of the team is “our energy and chemistry together. We play like we’ve always been a family.”
The positive relationships between the players and coaches on and off the field helped everyone stay focused and motivated to come together and make it the best season yet. However, the game did not go as everyone hoped or expected, and TJ lost to Dakota Ridge, making it their final game of the season. While it didn’t end the way everyone was hoping, the Spartans gave it their all, ending the season with a record of ten wins and only two losses.
The energy from the team is one that the players will continue on with in the next chapters of their lives. Sacha says that one thing he is taking away from his football career is the ability to “work really hard with other people as a team, and by doing so, you get further in life.” Senior Jake Tapia believes that “everything the coaches taught us, has taught me how to be a leader on the field,” as he moves on in life.