Football Flashback: The 2021 St. Pat’s Irish
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The St. Pat’s Irish have a football tradition and winning culture few can match. 2021 saw a resurgence of the program in Kevin Dodson’s 23rd year as head coach.
The team finished with an 8-2 record. That is their most wins since 2015. It also extended a streak of non-losing seasons, in which the last time the Irish suffered more losses than victories was 2008. Accolades aside, Dodson praises this team for the work ethic they displayed day in and day out.
“I thoroughly enjoyed coaching this group of young men. There wasn’t a lot of them, but I felt like they were a close knit group. I felt like they were very goal driven. They showed up every day. They went to work. They had fun with the game and they competed hard. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for. Kids will come out, give you a great effort and have fun playing the game. I think there’s a lot of pride in Irish football. The boys that come in understand what those expectations are. They understand the preparation that goes into being successful. We’ve been blessed with some really good talent. When you get that combination of kids that want to work hard and they have the talent to go along with it, you’re going to be successful an we’ve been blessed with those kind of kids.”
Senior leadership was key to the success of St. Pat’s this year. One duty of a captain is to help his teammates. Quarterback Jack Heiss coveted that position and took it in stride.
“I thought we kept getting better just all around really. Our focus was a little better towards the end of the year and we kinda cleaned some things up. I thought this year was different because it was just more of our year as our seniors. The other years, you kind of always look up to the seniors and then when you’re there, it’s a little bit of a different feeling. I played quarterback last year so I already kind of knew what I was doing. I just try my best to help out all the guys. Anyone who really needed help, I was always always trying to help them out.”
Much like being a team leader, representing St. Pat’s is an honor to many. Defensive end Justin Schroll is beyond proud to don the green and gold and be thought of so highly by his teammates and coaches.
“I was honored really because I got to lead some guys that are younger than me and show them the right path or what I thought was the right path and help them become better young men and help develop their skills and just who they are as a person. It’s been really fun playing for the Irish and really a privilidge because they’ve been dominant for so many years. They’ve always made it to the playoffs and we have some of the best coaches. It’s just been really fun being able to compete and being able to better myself.”
The Irish graduate only a handful of seniors. This after a very small class of 2021 with 13 total students. That leaves plenty of youth and opportunities for the team to prosper as Dodson reaches the quarter-century mark patrolling the sidelines.
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