Football Flashback: The 2021 Sandhills Valley Mavericks
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Young teams get better. That is an old quote coaches like to throw around. Sandhills Valley finished 3-6 this year, qualifying in the playoffs in the process. This was done with a rather large disparity in the age of the players according to Head Coach Luke Connell.
“We had a lot of good moments, but we had a lot of bad moments as well. We had 14 freshman on the team out of 23 kids. We had six who had ever played varsity football prior to this year. We knew coming into it that we were going to rely real heavily on a core group of upperclassman, but we had to get some younger kids to step up. That takes a while throughout the season and that’s probably where we lacked the most was in depth. I think there was a lot of growth. That’s the great part about this season. Even though it ended how we didn’t want it to end, the growth we had was tremendous. We had young players move up into position they weren’t ready for. I was really proud of that. The growth of our upperclassman understanding what they had to do to step up.”
The players felt the season was up and down as well. Some narrow victories and tough defeats were experiences they endured, but the club seeks a bounce back campaign next year.
“Our first game started out pretty rough. We got beat by a team we shouldn’t have. Then we kind of bounced back for about three games. The rest of the season, we didn’t have any luck. We lost a key player and we kind of all fell apart.”
“I think for next year, our main focus will probably be to come out every practice and give our maximum effort I think that’ll lead to confidence and give us some wins.”
With so much youth set to come back and only one senior, Kooper Barnum, set to graduate, the next few years of Maverick football looks promising as those 14 freshman get older and see the field more.
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