O’NEALS — For the first time in school history, the Minarets varsity football team made it to the Division 6 Central Section playoffs. Although the boys fell to Orange Cove in the final game, the football team is now part of several Minarets teams such as volleyball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, and baseball that have made it to the Central Section playoffs. With two previous years under his belt, Coach Becher Marr led his team into school history.
Sierra Stalter along with her dad were some of the many Minarets fans that made the trip, either on their own or by the rooter bus supplied by the school, down to Orange Cove to cheer on their team. Stalter’s motivation for attending the game was solely based on school spirit and that she came because “it was their first playoff game and I wanted to support them.” Minarets fans were fully invested in the game, as one of the football players remarked that their cheers could be heard from the field.
The physical strain and endurance the sport of football mandates from its players can take its toll, but it is this pain that keeps players like senior Preston Conti in the game as he reflects: “I had a lot of pains going on in my body and I didn’t feel the best, but [the pain] always motivates me [because I know] that the other team is tired too, and has the same problems.”
This type of mindset is what pushed the team to make it to their very first playoff game. Another factor that contributed to their playoff bid was the idea and embodiment of teamwork. Teammates can help each other build character, leadership skills, and trust. Conti illustrates this complementary system of teamwork by explaining that “you can make your teammates run through a wall if they trust you.”
In addition to winning the Senior Night game against Riverdale, the playoff game was something to be truly remembered as Conti states that “it was one of my favorite memories at Minarets most definitely.”
Jay Smoljan, Minarets’ first athletic director and first head football coach is proud that the team made playoffs. When asked about this significant event Smoljan stated that he thinks “it’s great for our football program and our athletes,” adding that “it shows that the program is heading in a positive direction.”
Conti summarized his experience by stating, “All I wanted this year was to leave my legacy and hopefully I did.”
This 2018 season for the Minarets football team was truly extraordinary as they set personal and school records in addition to topping valley leaderboards. Congratulations to Coach Marr and the team!