Football team seals playoff spot

The 2019 varsity football season reached a climax when the team clinched a playoff berth on October 11. According to the players, the success came, in part, due to the efforts made by the captains.

For the first time in three years, football coach Ed Gallagher and the team captains led their team to the District 1 6A playoffs.
The varsity football team captains helped the team come together more this year than in past years. This helped the team in many ways, including getting them to playoffs.
“I think the biggest component to the improvement that you saw this year was our leadership. I thought our leadership was outstanding this year, and I thought the way the players responded to the leadership was much better,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher wasn’t the only one who noticed the team’s leadership enhancement this season.
“The team coming together this year was a lot better than past years,” captain Jimmy Daley said. “I feel that the seniors were able to connect with the sophomores a lot more, help them out.”
According to Daley, the practices this season became more meaningful to the players. They didn’t know whether they would be starting in their upcoming games or even get any playing time at all.
“A lot of people wanted to fight for playing time, so the more motivated you are to play the game, the more motivated people will be to go to practice, because the harder you work in practice, the better chance you have in playing the game,” Daley said.
In past years, the team would get together to watch film in school to see what they were up against for their upcoming game.
But, due to the district’s network disruption, which began on Labor Day Weekend. It made it challenging for the team to watch film as much as they did in years past. The team “attempted” to watch film three times a week and the players were “encouraged” to watch film on their own time, according to Gallagher.
“A group of kids from the team got together every Thursday and we watched film and had dinner before the game, so that helped us bond a lot,” junior Jacob Horton said.
The team’s commitment was exemplified by the time players put in outside of school to prepare for the game. The team took “ownership” for their responsibilities, even for things that were not easy, according to Gallagher.
“We had a bunch of guys that really did a good job taking ownership for what they needed to do, making sure the other guys were on the same page, and doing what they need to do throughout the year. No one’s really excited about lifting weights and running, but if you want to be successful, that’s what you need to do. Without that leadership, I don’t think we would have gotten it done,” Gallagher said.
According to captain Ethan Smerecki, the team was “confident” the week leading up to their playoff game on November 1.
The team hoped they would play “as well as they did all season,” Smerecki said.
But, despite losing the first round of playoffs against Coatesville High School, 49-18, the team had a memorable season, overall.
“I think the season went well because we all played together as a team, we played to our best ability, and in the off season we all put in the work and we knew we had to turn the program around in the right direction, and that’s what we did,” junior Jalen White said.
The team ended up going 8-2 during their regular season. According to junior Evan Kutzler, the success came with some negatives.
“It’s bitter-sweet,” Kutzler said, “losing the seniors, especially as a junior. They’re a big role model for me.”
This loss was emotional for the seniors, as well. Whether they grew up playing football together, or they’ve played the last four years together. For many, the Coatesville playoff game was the last time they’ll play football together as a team.
“It was heartbreaking,” Daley said. “Yes, I was happy for the good season. It was hard playing your last game after four years of non-stop grinding for this very moment. I was just glad to be able to have the year that I did.”