They beat Maranacook on Sunday in the semi-finals and Winthrop on Monday night for the championship!!!! The win is even more special because they had not beaten either team in the regular season, but came up big when it counted the most. It's also significant to note that both Maranacook and Winthrop appeared to out-weigh our boys by 10 - 20 lbs., and seemed to have about 4" - 6' in height advantage over them. Still, our boys' dogged determination, hard work, practice and preparation paid out in the end.
There is something else that is special about this win. Throughout the year, while other teams had a "1st offense" and "1st defense" - their best kids that got the most playing time, we employed a strategy of running 2 full offenses throughout the season and alternated them from play to play. While our "white offense" was on the field, the "red offense" was on the sidelines in a huddle planning the next play. We had hoped that this would allow us to run more plays, and give all the boys significant playing time. Prior to the playoffs, we asked the boys if they wanted to stick with this strategy, or put in our best players (a "blue" offense) for the game in an effort to win the championship. We took a silent vote - each player approached the head coach and told him what he thought the team should do. This is significant: the players who would have made up the "blue offense" all voted to keep things the way they were so that the whole team would play, while those who were less likely to get playing time voted to create the "blue offense" to increase our chances of winning!!! The coaches were unanimous in support of the original strategy - win as a team, lose as a team, and we were taken aback by the selflessness of the boys. They showed great sportsmanship throughout the year and right to the end.
In our game against Maranacook, we stuck with the original game plan and shut them out 12 - 0. Against Winthrop, we went with our original structure through 3 quarters, and put the "blue" team in in the 4th. We still ended up tied at 0 - 0 at the end of regulation. The overtime rules for the league had each team run 4 downs from the 10 yard line. Each team would get a shot, and the first team to outscore the other after each series of downs would win. After the first series, we were still locked at 0. After the second series, we both scored with a two point conversion, so we tied at 8 - 8. After the third series we both scored again with no two point conversion, so it was 14 -14. In the fourth series, we intercepted a pass on Withrop's first down which gave us the ball. It took all 4 downs, but we finally scored and won the game!!!!
It was so exciting to see these boys win the way they did - with heart, guts and teamwork. In fact, that's what Alex talked about on the way home - how we couldn't have done it if the whole team didn't work together the way they did. It was a cold night (31 degrees at the end), but that’s not what I had goose bumps from!