Warhawks Tackle the Challenges of a First Year Program

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Warhawks Tackle the Challenges of a First Year Program

Starting a football program from scratch requires patience, determination and grit, as many players learned in their first season as Warhawks.

Starting a football program from scratch requires patience, determination and grit, as many players learned in their first season as Warhawks.

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Starting a football program from scratch requires patience, determination and grit, as many players learned in their first season as Warhawks.

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Sydney Fitzpatrick

Starting a football program from scratch requires patience, determination and grit, as many players learned in their first season as Warhawks.

Arianna McCurry, Staff Reporter

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The start of something truly great is never simple. Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Leonardo Dicaprio, Oprah, Ariana Grande, Andy Warhol didn’t instantly succeed. They all started at the bottom and worked their way up and put time and effort into what they believed in. It’s not easy to compare some of the most famous people in the world to a high school football program, but what all those people did is exactly what Great Crossing’s football program has had to do this season.

The first varsity season for the Warhawk football program was not an easy one.  It was filled with many challenges and few successes in terms of scores. This season the Warhawks only won a single game, and  games that were lost often had a depressing score. Despite the fact that wins were hard to come by, Warhawk football players are optimistic about the future. “I think we’ll be good next year. Next year will be a different story,” said Caleb Shively, junior. 

Freshman Gabe Nichols also believes that future seasons will have a better outcome as current players will grow in skill and maturity. “When freshmen are juniors and sophomores are seniors, I think that’ll be our best year.” 

Our biggest disadvantage was the youth of our team, and an area that I believe people will really see us improve in is our strength. Our weight room is finished, and we will have a full off season of competing against each other, and making huge improvements in the weight room.”

— Ricky Bowling, Assistant Head Coach

While the final scores may have been disappointing, players acknowledged that a second football program in Scott County provided new opportunities. Senior Caleb Griggs said, “Looking back at Scott County,they didn’t play me that much and they didn’t give me much opportunity. I was stuck playing corner all three years, but when I came to Great Crossing they gave me an opportunity to actually play on offense and play running back and use one of the abilities I’ve been given and wanted to use my whole life,” he said. 

Assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Ricky Bowling just concluded his sixth season as a high school football coach. Coach Bowling agreed with team members that the youth of the team proved to be the most difficult aspect of the season. “Our biggest disadvantage was the youth of our team, and an area that I believe people will really see us improve in is our strength. Our weight room is finished, and we will have a full off season of competing against each other, and making huge improvements in the weight room.” Despite this, the number of losses from this inaugural season isn’t what Coach Bowling believed should define it.   He said, “I don’t think this season was a matter of measuring our wins and losses, but more so the endurance to go to work and get better each week and to strive for maximum effort.”

This was a season where hard work was a priority.  Bowling pointed out that the boys were working hard and improving every week despite losses. “Our kids competed and improved every week. From their abilities, practice/work habits, and attitudes, everyone improved. Obviously we want to keep improving in all those areas and keep building a winning culture here at Great Crossing,” he said. 

While the season may have had more losses than wins, it did provide the opportunity to show players the value of persistence and why a strong work ethic is important. “This season established the importance of how hard you have to work in order to be successful and how to face adversity and overcome it,” said Bowling. 

I’m proud of how we became better men. That was what our program was about; being better men, growing better men…”

— Gabe Nichols, freshman

Coach Bowling agreed with Shively and Nichols that the team was going to continuously improve over the next few years. “Our experience is obviously going to improve. We have a solid number of juniors returning and a very talented sophomore and freshman class to keep building with. I also look for our numbers to grow each year, which in return, creates more competition in our off-season workouts and practices. That leads to substantial growth and improvement for Warhawk football.” 

Although a football program wants to help players improve their skills for the game, the Warhawk program also had a larger purpose–and that was to help young boys grow into better men.  Players participated in a variety of coach led discussions and community service projects that related to this goal, and players were onboard with the mission. Nichols said, “I’m proud of how we became better men. That was what our program was about; being better men, growing better men,” he said.

Coach Bowling also strongly believes in the character development aspect of the program. “At the end of the day, football is more than just a game. Our mission is to use the game of football to develop young men for success in the game of life. Sure we instill a mindset to win every game and ultimately our goal is to win a state championship. But, we want our kids and coaching staff to win forever. That’s a mindset that can lead to success in every aspect of life and that’s what Warhawk Football is all about.”