There is such a finality to a sports season coming to an end. All those hours spent trying to build a team with confidence and unity, hopefully combining those with talent, and a will to win. With that add some good fortune then perhaps the ending is pleasant. For coaches and players the finality can come with a sense of vacancy in the next day’s schedule.
One more flashback from my experience coaching high school football. After going straight through from late July to mid December, whether in film studies or meetings or practices and games, it hardly leaves time to look up. This is especially true if you are winning. After that team had lost its semi-final game, I remember backing out of the driveway having to be reminded that I didn’t need to show back up at the field-house bright and early the next day to break down film. It was a strange feeling.
“Now what?” was the theme of my day the next morning.
I mentioned it at the end of my article yesterday, but it bears repeating. Saturday’s State Championship game is the last time these boys will put on the blue and white this year. Win or lose, this is it.
Tomorrow I’m going to break down each match-up position-by-position and dissect Collinsville as best I can.
For today, I am putting the messages that I asked for yesterday on social media. I was thinking the Bulldog fans, despite all the yelling we do (and that includes yelling until the voice is gone) might appreciate some space to voice their comments about this team.
Responses came slowly, but they have been pouring in all morning. If yours doesn’t get in today’s paper, it may be in an upcoming edition. You can also add your comments to this story on our website or on Facebook. Keep them coming please.
I was looking for comments on the effects this whole turnaround in the Altus athletic program has had on individual families, businesses, student body conduct, friendships and even reunions. I know several oldschoolers are intended to be in the stands on Saturday. I’ve even heard of a campaign to breakout your letter jackets and represent your class.
It might make a lively discussion on which class is best.
I assure you the 2016 class will certainly have their flag planted.
* “I can not think of a group of kids with a bigger heart, drive or passion for football! I don’t believe there is a more deserving group either. I’m so excited for each one of them. I’m really going to miss watching their magic on the field! Go Bulldogs!” – Jennie McLeod
* “I love the camaraderie, the brotherhood, the team spirit you guys display. You really have put the spirit & the pride back into our town. We have so much love for all you. Good luck on Saturday & God bless you.” – Loretta Cribbs
* “All you boys are a bright inspiration for the young Bulldog fans around this town. It’s great that a group of kids could bring a community together. A special thanks goes out to all the parents of these players. Every one of you should be extremely proud of these kids. What a story and what classic way to end this story on Saturday. The story needs a STATE CHAMPIONSHIP RING. Stay the course and achieve your story book ending.” – Caleb Walton
* “You guys have brought back a sense of pride to our little town. You’ve made everyone unite and walk just a little taller. We’ve needed that for a long time. This community is so proud of you. Win or lose, hold your heads high. You’ve got a whole town behind you. Congrats on a fabulous season! Bulldog love!” -Carol Steen
* “You guys are truly a blessing to this community.” – Larry Douglas (Bulldog ‘92)
* “This team has brought this Mom so much closer to her daughter. I am so proud to be a Bulldog Alum! Class of ‘94! Once a Bulldog, Always a BULLDOG! So proud of this team and thanks to the parents of these boys! You should all be proud!” -Stacy Foster -Espinosa (Bulldog ‘94)
I was trying to count up how many in the athletic program have played in or coached in a State Title game. Coach Mike Torres certainly played in the 1988 game against MacAlester. He is the current Bulldog coach who gets to walk out on the field and shout the play confirmation to the offense with what voice he has left. He his coming around full circle as he has a sideline spot to see his son, defensive standout #34 Sean Torres.
I asked Mike if he had some wise words of maybe lessons learned from his experience as a player in this huge game.
“It seems like a simple answer but I will want them to really stay focused and continue doing what we do. We have been great at doing just that,” said Coach Torres. “I mean with a big win on Monday, it feels like we won a state title but the only thing we did was earn a ticket to the finals. What we don’t want is to get caught up in the week filled with all the hype and emotions surrounding the team. We can’t feel like we won it already and start listening to all the outside stuff. We need to mentally distance ourselves from that and continue focusing on what we do and let the fans do all that extra. I made it as a player and didn’t finish it. I was there as a fan when Matt Terry and my stepson, Jay Farmer, played in the title game against Carl Albert and suffered again as the Bulldogs didn’t finish. I just hope this time as a coach we can finally bring that gold ball home.”
Let’s hear from you, Altus. These Bulldogs need to hear from the entire Bulldog Nation.
GO BULLDOGS!! And keep on Going!
Reach Brad Gilbert@482-1221 ext.2076