Shawnee Football | Teen Ink

Shawnee Football

December 15, 2020
By Evans3465, Springfield, Ohio
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Evans3465, Springfield, Ohio
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Author's note:

I am a 16 year old who is in the middle of my Sophmore year. I play football and baseball and I love sports. I want to share this paper hear because I like the way that you website is set up and I feel like it would be the best place to get published.

Shawnee football preseason

It was a rough end to the 2019 season for the Shawnee Braves. We did not go out the way we wanted to. We graduated many seniors that were key assets to the team. Nobody was looking forward to the following years to come for us. Once the season ended a couple of kids, including me, were in the weightroom lifting getting prepared for the next year and hoping we can do well. Cain, our best lineman, was constantly in the weightroom teaching me what to do in order to become the best player that I could. We would all lift after school with our defensive coach, Devin Spitzer. A lot of people thought we were not going to have a good season, and we wanted to prove them wrong. Eventually more and more people came into the weight room with Cain and I, everyone was working hard and giving everything they had.

Three-a-days came around and everyone was coming to practice. It sucked.  There were lots of kids who came the first couple of days, but after a couple of weeks people stopped showing up. We did nothing but run to get into condition. We would run during the first practice and the third practice of the day and it was awful. During these days it was in the middle of August which meant it felt 80-90 degrees outside during the eight hour practice. We would run sprints and we would also run the hill sometimes. This was the worst: trying to accelerate up a hill killed your legs and the whole team was dying by the end of it. Coach Meeks was on us all about being dedicated to the team and how nobody was working hard enough. From that day everyone changed, everyone started going harder in sprints and everyone was taking drills more seriously. Coaches even admitted at the beginning of the season that they did not expect as much out of us since we lost all of the important seniors that we did. 

We all walked in to practice on week three of three-a-days and coach Warrington was passing out helmets and pads. They would call kids up oldest to youngest to get pads and helmets. Once everyone was fully padded we would have to wait a week of full pads before we could have any contact. After the week went by we were finally able to start hitting. Clay and Cain (the two biggest kids on the team) were kind of avoided by everyone during the first couple of weeks in full pads. They were a lot stronger than everyone on the team and they could basically bully whoever they wanted. Our running, back Tyler Mercer, was also a very good player on both sides of the ball. He was a hard hitting linebacker and he could also run the ball like a truck. Another one of our hard hitting players, that nobody wanted to mess with, was Rudy. Rudy put his body on the line all the time. He was not scared to step up in front of everyone and hit them.

We were finally approaching our first game of the season. I was not getting any playing time at this point, but I was getting some varsity reps. During the week of our first game we had our most disciplined practice week of the year. All the seniors were especially focused on the game because it would be the last first game of their highschool career. Everyone was taking the game very seriously, even though we only played Urbana. Urbana is not a very good team and they especially were not very good this year. We knew that coming into the game, but everyone also thought that we were not going to be good so we had to go out and prove ourselves. I went home after practice that week excited. There were some crazy rules that had never taken place before because of COVID, like we had to wear masks on the sidelines and everyone on the sidelines had to stay six feet apart. Everyone on the team thought this was ridiculous, but we would do anything in order for us to stay on the field and be able to play. The thing that was the most annoying that we found out just before the first games was parents could only get three tickets. When I went home to tell my mom, she was furious because my grandparents and cousins had already told her that they were going to come to the game. 


It was gameday and it was kind of awkward because we were not in school yet because Shawnee was still undergoing construction during the time. Since COVID, we could not have our typical team meals before the game where we all could sit around and joke and get our nerves settled before the game. We had to eat at home and then show up to the stadium right before game time because they did not want us around each other for too long of a time period. I walked into the SAC at 4:15 which was fifteen minutes before we were supposed to be there. The whole team was already there when I arrived and I was shocked. The music was blaring in the locker room and everyone was getting hyped before the game. I was kind of upset during the time because I thought that I should have started, but I didn’t. It was not long, about at 5:30 coaches came in and yelled first group which meant the kickers and long snappers would go out and warm up. I was part of the first group because I long snapped. I walked out and I was still mad at the coaches that I was not starting on anything, but I tried to hide that from the players because I did not want to make any of them mad. I warmed up with a couple of long snaps and then the quarterbacks and the receivers walked out to warm up. They were the second group to come out. After they were done warming up the third group came out which was all the lineman.

We all started stretching in our lines and then we did our traditional brave jacks before we did our tackling stations. After we ran through our pregame tackling stations all of the players would line up on our 45 yard line to block the other team off. Then the coaches would call out offense and we would run some plays to make sure everyone understood what they were doing. When we finished doing this we would all run back into the locker room and get our minds right for the game. Some people were listening to music while others, like me, would sit in silence either because they were mad or because it was their way of focusing. After we sat in there for about 5 minutes our starting quarterback Drew Mitch walked in and yelled “We are on offense first”. Everyone started clapping and shouting. Coaches walked in and we would say prayer before the game. The whole team would say prayer and then the coaches would announce who was starting. After each player's name was announced the team would clap twice. Finally, the coaches gave us a pregame speech to get everyone hyped and ready to play before the game. We all ran out of the locker room and onto the field. During this first game I did not play. I was only on for extra point where I would block for the kicker. We started out hot during this game, everything was clicking. Our offense was moving the ball and we dominated the first quarter. We outscored them in the first quarter 20 to 3. During the second quarter we slowed down a little but we still were controlling them easily. We ended up outscoring them 14 to 3 in this quarter. It was finally half time and we ran into the locker room. When we got into the locker room it seemed like the coaches were mad. Coach Meeks was complaining that our offense got stopped a couple of times and Coach Spitzer was mad that we got scored on. I was kind of irritated that they were mad because I thought that we were playing a great game and the scoreboard definitely showed that. It did not matter what I thought though, because obviously it was not enough to appease the coaches. After coach Meeks told us what we were doing wrong he went over the game plan for the next half which he expected the offense to score everytime that they got the ball. We all ran back out to the field and stretched. I was still irritated at the idea that I was playing and so were some of the other offensive lineman. The whistles blew and the third quarter took off. It was a slow quarter and nobody scored.  The fourth quarter was going the same and I was still bored on the sideline until the coach Plymale yelled my name. Coach Plymale was the defensive line coach and that's what I played on defense. I was happy that I would finally get my chance, but I was also upset at the idea that it was only for the last minute of the game. I ran out onto the field and lined up. The player in front of me was a lot bigger than me. He had to be senior or junior, just by his looks. I was scared for sure! It seemed like everything was moving in slow motion. They ran a run play away from my side and I could not get there to make the tackle. After all that the game ended and I only got in for one play. The final of the game was 40 to 3.

We went into the following week prepared for the next game because it would be hard and we all knew that. We would be playing Bellfountaine who we barely beat last year. Since we had lost all of our important seniors, nobody expected us to compete with them and people assumed we would get blown out.

None of us players thought that we would be bad. We knew the potential that we had on our roster. We had a great backfield with two studs who could run the ball. Tyler Mercer was the starting running back and Max Guyer would split carries with him. They had different run styles, but both of them were successful. Tyler was a down field runner who was not scared to run anyone over. Max on the other hand was a left to right runner who could juke and out run almost everyone on the field.

Coaches were kind of excited for this game because they knew it was going to be a game they would end up being very important for winning the CBC. We all practiced hard and were ready to go into a battle until the last quarter. Sadly, I was still not getting the opportunity to start,  but I was fine with that because we were winning and I was only a Sophomore and I had plenty of time to play football going on the next two years.


It was another home game and everyone arrived at 4:30. By 5 o’clock everyone was getting taped and listening to music to get their minds right. Nobody was off of their game; we were all expecting a battle and we wanted to end up on top. We did all of our pregame rituals and stretches and after we said prayer we headed out to the field. First quarter started and the kickoff was off. We started with the ball with good field position after a good return by one of our best receivers Jamon Miller. We did not move the ball very well the first quarter, but our defense was stellar. Our defense carried the team this whole game. By the end of the first quarter the score of the game was 6-0 Bellefontaine. We were still slow during the second quarter on offense, but we did happen to sneak in a touchdown and make the score 7-6. It was a battle from there and when the refs blew their whistles for half time the score remained a one point game. When we went into the locker room coach Meeks was mad. He was screaming about how our offense was doing terribly and they could not move the ball at all. He was mostly frustrated because Bellefontaine defense was not impressive at all and us not moving the ball on them probably meant that we would not be able to move the ball on any other team. Coach said “I told you this would not be like Urbana” and “you guys came into this game too cocky”. This kind of put a spark into everyone and we came out with a little more energy than we did the first half. We all ran out onto the field and stretched and got ready for the second half of football. When the 3rd quarter started Bellefontaine had the ball. It was a quick three and out for them and it set a precedent for our defense for the rest of the game. Our offense was finally moving the ball during the second half, but they kept getting unlucky and turnovers killed us. We would move the ball all the way down the field and it seemed as if we had an interception or a fumble every time something was going our way. It did not matter though, the game was still 7-6 at the end of the third quarter due to our defense. 

It was the final quarter of the game now and nobody knew who would end up on top. Ours and their defense were shutting each other's offense down. We got the ball back with about 3 minutes left in the game. We were marching down the field slowly, but surely. Our run game was perfect and they could not stop it like they had the rest of the night. We were on the 30 yard line with about 1 minute 30 seconds to go. Coach meeks called one of our best run plays to the strong right side of our line. Tyler broke for a 25 yard rush and put us on their 5 yard line. The time was clicking and we only had one time out. Coach decided to call it with about 30 seconds left. His goal was to run two plays in hope to get into the endzone but if that did not work we would spike the ball and kick a field goal to secure the game. The timeout was over and we ran the same play that Tyler broke for big yards on. Drew said “hit”, handed the ball off to Tyler, and TOUCHDOWN BRAVES. We secured the game as long as our defense could hold them off. Bellefontaine got the ball with about 20 second with two timeouts. They ran a couple of  deep pass plays, but they did not work. We ended up winning the game 13-6 and we started the 6 game season with a strong record of 2-0. Coaches were not happy with the way we played but they were still happy that we came out on top with the win. 


The next week we played Tecumseh. They were not a very good team at all. I was still not starting at this point of the season, but I was slowly gaining more and more reps in practice and I knew my time was coming. We ended up killing Techumseuh and came out on top 39-14. The coaches after this game were mad at our first half performance because we were losing when we went into the locker room. That did not matter at the end of the day because we were the team that came out on top. 


We knew the next two games would be the hardest games we would play all season. They were the best teams in the conference and we would have to beat both of them to win the CBC. The first game that we would be playing was against London. They were a power house team that could run the ball whenever they wanted. Their offensive linemen were huge, all 300 plus pounds, and very fast and strong as well. We were definitely outmatched in this game, but we still had hope that we could be victorious in the final outcome. I was still not starting in this game, but to be honest I wasn’t too mad because I was kind of scared of how big their team was.

The game was away so we all got on a bus that was about a 30 minute drive. It was a cold night and nobody on the team seemed like they were ready to play football. When we showed up the locker room that we were in was forever away from their football field and it was very cold and uncomfortable.  After everyone got taped up we went out in our normal groups. After we warmed up and went back into the locker room to announce the starters and say prayer we took the field ready to play. Something still did not feel right at the beginning of the game, nobody really seemed into it. We started with the ball and by the second play Kaden got hurt. Kaden was an offensive linemen and he was also one of our best defensive players. This killed everyone's mood even more than it already was and it seemed as if nobody cared anymore. We did not move the ball at all on offense and we were getting shut down. London controlled the entire game from start to finish. They ran the ball down our throats and by the end of the first half the score was 28-0. Everyone by this time did not even act like they wanted to be on the field. Coaches were not really mad in the locker room. They were just disappointed because they knew we were not focused enough in practice and it showed on the field that night.

We came back out onto the field in the second half just hoping to put some points on the board and have something good to go home with. We started off good at the beginning of the 3rd quarter and we scored quickly. It was now 28-7. Then things went bad again. On the next kick off one of our senior defensive backs got hurt. Luke was laying on the field forever and had to be carted off in worry that something was wrong with his head and neck. After another bad injury that would put both of the kids out for the season we lost momentum again. London took over again and they kept scoring. Our defense could not stop them and our offense could not move the ball to save their lives. The final buzz went off on the scoreboard and everyone took a sigh of relief because the game was finally over with an ending score of 34-7.

If we wanted any chance of winning the CBC we would have to beat Jonathan Alter and hope that they beat London in order to get a three way tie. This was probably the biggest game of the year for us and I think that everyone on the team did not think we had a real shot at competing with them. Jonathan Alter was a good team, but they were the exact opposite of London. Jonathan Alter was a pass first team and they would run a lot of underneath routes because they believed that their receivers were faster than anyone else's corners. We had to be focused this week in practice and we did just that. Our defense seemed like they were perfect throughout the entire week and their offense was clicking better than ever. Coach was optimistic about the game and he really believed that we could win it.

Jonathan Alter

It was our final home game of the regular season and the seniors did not want to lose, they would do anything to make sure they were victorious. Everyone arrived at the SAC at 4:30, like usual, ready to play. We did the usual warm ups and then we came back in for prayer and to announce the starters. After this coach Meeks gave a really good pep talk to hype everyone up because he did not want us going out there dead. The game started out and Jonathan Alter decided to receive first. When they got the ball they did just the thing that we thought they would do. They passed the ball all the way down the field right into the end zone and they started the game out 7-0. We finally got the ball and we were ready to take over. We did not do much with the ball. Our run game was getting shut down and we could not pass the ball to save our lives. At the end of the first quarter the score was 14-0 Jonathan Alter. When the second quarter started we knew we had to score or we would not be in the game much longer because Jonathan Alter would just run away with the game. We did just that when we went into the locker room at half time the score of the game was 21-10 Jonathan Alter. Coaches were happy with our performance so far, but they wanted to tweak a couple of things. Coach Spitzer wanted our defense to lock down more and coach Meeks wanted our offense to be a little more efficient. Coach said right before we went out to stretch “The longer we keep this game close the better the chance that we have of winning”. 

We went out to warmup and stretch and everyone seemed ready. We got the ball and went three and out right away. This was not a good sign because if you can not score then it is impossible for you to win a game. Jonathan Alter dominated the third quarter and they had the game at 31-17. We were still in hope that we could come out on top. We started off the 4th quarter hot and scored a touchdown right away to make it 31-24. It was a one score game now and Jonathan Alter was trying to chew as much clock as they could. They ended up getting the clock down to about three minutes before they punted the ball away to us. When we got the ball we could not do anything with it. It was a 4th and 10. Coach Meeks called a busted play that they read from the start Drew had to scramble away from pressure and he dumped it off to Cameron Bruker who went for 75 yards and a touchdown to tie the game up now at 31-31. All our defense had to do now was hold them from not scoring. They got the ball with about a minute to go left in the game. They marched to the 50 yard line and they had time to run about two or three more plays. They ran a deep pass play where their receiver ran a double move. Jamon, one of our top corners, bit and then got beat on the deep ball which put them up 38-31. Coach Spitzer was furious because he had been preaching not to get beat on a double move all week. Our offense now got the ball back with little time to go. We ran a few plays but they were unsuccessful and Jonathan Alter ended up winning the game putting us out of chances of winning the CBC.

Middletown Madison

We made the playoffs with a 3-2 record. We ended up getting a 7 seed and a bye the first round. Everyone was impressed with us and how much we accomplished this season. I was still not starting at this time, but I knew my time would have to be soon because the player in front of me was not performing well. This game was supposed to be easy for us because we were playing a very high seeded team who was not supposed to be good. Coach gave it to us straight at the practice the week of this game. He said that the other team said that the best chances of them moving on in the playoffs was to play us. He thought this was very disrespectful and said that we score and keep scoring until the clock hit 0 at the end.

Everyone on the team was hyped about how they were talking trash to us and we were ready to play. It was a home game and it would probably be our last game of the season. We all showed up at our normal time of 4:30 ready to go. We sent our normal groups out to warm up and stretch for the game. After we did prayer and announced the starters we started to make our way out to the field. Our seniors had a different attitude to this game because I think they finally realized it could be the last time they stepped onto a football field. The seniors' attitudes made everyone focused and that is just how we played. We dominated the entire game and did not give up a single point to them. When the final whistle was blown we won in a blowout by the score of 34-0.


We had a bigger game ahead of us for the second round of the playoffs. I was happy because I finally got the starting role. That did not matter though because we needed to win over anything. We were playing a team with a very good quarterback, but not much of anything else. They threw the ball 70% of the plays so we had to rely on our defensive backs a lot during this game. Coach believed we were the better team, but he also said there was still a chance that we could lose this game.

It was an away game and the bus ride was terrible. Not only did we have to wear masks the whole time since COVID, it was also freezing on the ride. When we got off the bus to go into their stadium it was freezing. You could not even feel your hands and everyone was rushing to get into the locker room. After everyone taped up we went out onto the field to warm up. When we got onto the field it was very slippery and muddy and it would definitely affect the game in some way. 

Coaches believed in me that I could get the job done and give some blocks for our running backs to hit the holes and gain yards. That was the goal. I was not trying to devastate anyone I was just trying to get in their way and keep them away from my quarterback. When the game started we had the ball. We could not do anything with it because it seemed as if every time someone tried to make a cut they would slip and fall. At the end of the first quarter neither team scored. The second started and we had to score some points. We got the ball and went on a long drive that chewed up most of the quarters clock. We scored on a QB sneak up the middle that worked to perfection. When they got the ball back they scored on a drive that cut our defense to shreds. They made it seem easy and it was not a good sign going into half time. When we jogged off the field into the locker room it was 7-6 us. 

The second half we had to take over to win the game and Meeks made sure we knew that. He was very mad at our offense for not performing the way that we had all year especially because their defensive line was not good at all. Coach Warrington, who was the offensive line coach, told me I was doing a good job and to keep it up. We looked like a different team the second half of the game. We dominated in all aspects of the half. Our defense was shutting down their amazing quarterback and our offense was marching down the field with ease. By the end of the game we were victorious and moving on by the score of 23-6.


This would be our most important game of the season. This team was average in all aspects of the game. They had a solid offense and their defense was good as well. We had our best practice all year during this game week and we were all prepared. It would be another home game and it would be the final home game of the season. It was a home game since we were the higher seed. This game would be the biggest test for me all season. The kid that lined up in front of me was about 6’3, 230 which was the biggest that I had seen all season. Coaches were confident that I would do a good job and their trust gave me the confidence going into the game

We all arrived at 4:30 and got taped and things checked out before we went out and stretched. After we stretched we headed into the locker room where coach Meeks had his old highschool coach there to give us a speech. He gave a very inspirational speech about having trust in one another and if you can trust the person next to you the more fast and confident you will play. After this we all ran onto the field and it seemed like we were an entirely different team than usual. Everyone was screaming and jumping and it seemed like we were a bunch of maniacs. I was the same way. I did not feel normal. I was very nervous and I did not feel right, but it felt good. It felt like I could not be stopped by anyone. We started with the ball and we ran the ball down their throats. Our offensive line dominated and Tyler Mercer ran three run plays and a touchdown. We started off hot and we took the lead 7-0. Our defense dominated the first drive too. We shut down their running back, who was supposed to be their top guy, and he had negative rushing yards on the first possession. This threw their game plan the whole game because if they could not run the ball they did not have much of an offense. After our hot start we slowed down and ended the first quarter 7-0. The second quarter was pretty boring as well, neither team could not find much on offense until late in the quarter. They got the ball and scored and made it a tie game. We got the ball with little time remaining and we were trying to break a play out for easy points. We did just that. We broke a big run play off and then an easy throw into the end zone to go into the locker room 14-7. Coaches were happy with how we were doing. They were a little upset that we did not put up many points but that did not matter as long as we kept the lead and our defense kept shutting them down.

We went back out in the second half and dominated. We made it seem as if they did not even have an offense. They did not score a single point during the second half and we scored another touchdown and we ended the game with the score of 21-0.

Roger Bacon

It was now the regional finals of the playoffs. We had to face a very good team who had stand out athletes. They had a running back that was committed on a full ride to LSU and they also had a linebacker that was getting looked at by Georgia. We knew we would have to have the absolute best game that we had ever played in order for us to win this game. Coaches told us before the game that it would be a very tough game for us to win but he also said that underdogs have won before and that's why you play a game because you never know what can happen. We took a very long bus ride to get there in the middle of Cincinnati. When we got there, their field looked amazing, an old stone stadium that looked like it was kept in great shape. Their field was all turf with their Trojan logo in the middle. When we went into the locker room we were surprised to see that it was an old run down small little shed that smelled terrible. We were all mad, but it did not matter because we had to focus on the game more than a locker room. We all got ready for the game and went out to stretch. It felt like a dream. We were only the second team ever in Shawnee history to make it this far in the playoffs. 

The game was about to start. We got the ball first and we were excited. During this game I long snapped for the first time ever because Rudy's hand was hurt. When we got the ball our offense ran out onto the field. We ran a couple of run plays that got shut down by their defense. They were good and we knew that. We punted away the ball and for my first snap it was perfect besides the fact that I missed the tackle down the field. Our defense shut them down as well their star running back had negative yards in the first possession. They punted the ball away from us and our offense took over again. We could not do anything with the ball and had to punt again. During this punt I took off down the field to make a tackle, as I was running one of their linebackers hit me from the side and I heard a pop in my knee. I dropped straight to the ground and held my knee. The trainers came out to me on the field and asked a whole bunch of questions that I did not remember, but they eventually carried me off the field.

We held them the rest of the 1st quarter and ended the quarter with the score of 0-0. I was not allowed to play for the rest of the half and maybe the rest of the game. During the second quarter things began to get out of control. Roger Bacon was scoring left and right and it seemed as if every time they touched the ball it was a touchdown. We went into the locker room with our heads down with the score of 21-0. Coaches were not mad at us because they knew we were giving all we could. I had our trainer check out my knee hoping he would let me go back in. He said that it was up to me and how I felt. We relaxed in the locker room and waited for half time to be over so we could go stretch. During this time there was an eerie silence in the locker room where nobody was talking or anything.

We all took the field ready to go. I made the decision of playing and I hoped the team could come together and somehow come away with a victory. They got the ball first and our defense shut them down. When we got the ball we tried a running play and it did not work. We tried to go to the passing game. One of their big defensive linemen bull rushed me and I felt my knee give and it was a terrible feeling. I decided to try and push through, but on the very next play he bull rushed me again and my knee completely gave in. It felt like I had nothing attached to the outer part of my knee and nothing was keeping it stable. I was now out for the rest of the game and the main thing I had to worry about was hoping to not have to get surgery. The team's morale was low and we did not look like the team we looked like earlier in the playoffs. The team we were playing definitely had more talent on their team but the scoreboard made them appear better than what they truly were. We stuck out the last two quarters of the game and we finished with a loss with the score being 31-7.

It was a devastating loss, especially after all we had been through with COVID and how everyone told us we were supposed to suck. Even with the long bus ride home it was still a good time to spend it with the brothers I had made throughout the long season. I was proud of the season and all that we had accomplished. I was also happy that I stuck it out and kept working and the coaches finally gave me the opportunity to start. In the end it was a terrible way to go out, but I will always remember the brothers I had made during the 2020 Shawnee football season.

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