Through the Eyes of a Coach
Coach Ryan Schwiesow reminisced about past games, former players, and winning the state title for Class A. He had a lot to say.
The Falcons’ season began on the Morningside football field against Unity Christian. Schwiesow was asked if he saw his team making it to State from the beginning of that first game, he replied, “I thought we had the potential to go before the Morningside game. The potential was there. It was just a matter of getting it done.”
It wasn’t just practices and lifting that got the Falcons to a state title though. A major element that goes into winning games is making sure a team is fully prepared.
“There’s no doubt that the team that is most prepared is at a huge advantage,” Schwiesow said. “Watching film and preparing every week and knowing what the opponent is going to do is a huge advantage and that’s why we put such an emphasis on it.”
Another thing that makes a winning team is unity and making the kids on the team not only your teammates but your brothers. Something that helps develop this brotherhood is team meal.
Schwiesow finds importance in this because, “If you’re going to be a family you do family type things.”
There is no doubt that this brotherhood was built on a band of confident kids. He said, “You can lift all the weights and do all the things that they have done to get better and then when it comes time to play the game, they have such a confidence that they are going to win, and I think that is what sets them apart from a lot of teams.”
He has no doubts that next year’s team will be able to get the job done as well. The team is set to move up to Class 1A. Other teams in 1A may be more concerned about the Falcons moving up than they are themselves.
“We are going to be the best team that we can be and if that is a playoff caliber team or a dome caliber team that is great too, but I don’t think there is any doubt we have the potential to do what we did this year, next year,” said Schwiesow.
Every good team has a leading force and that was without a doubt the seven seniors this year. Jake Lynott, Michael Trageser, Zach Hulshof, Darlin Marquez, Zach McKee, Wyatt Johnson, and Austin Barrera were all important to the team’s success. If motivation, encouragement, or dependability was needed to get the job done, they were on it. It’s never easy graduating a talented group of seniors. Schwiesow shared examples of former players that were hard to replace but other boys stepped up and were ready for the task.
Schwiesow said, “Jake Lynott was waiting for his chance behind Kezden Blankenship. Chase Koopmans was waiting for his chance behind Justin Negaard, and Hunter Dekkers was waiting for his chance behind Porter Hummel.”
There are also kids that worked really hard on the team this year that just didn’t have the chance to showcase their talents. He said, “We’re going to have some kids that have just been dying to get their chance, and next year it’s gonna be their chance and hopefully they can fill some big shoes.”
It is noticeable that the coach cares about his boys and has formed an amazing bond watching them grow up. Schwiesow said, “I saw them in eighth grade and the thing that was special about them was that they always worked really hard. Nobody really thought that they had a chance to be where they’re at right now. They were going to prove them wrong. They did it with hard work, and the thing that I love about it is that’s probably going to suit them in life more than anything. If they work hard, they’re going to accomplish any goal and there’s no doubt about it...I’m going to miss them dearly.”
The current sophomores and juniors know a little something about being champions. They won the Super Bowl in youth football as third and fourth graders.
Schwiesow said with a laugh, “To say that a group of third and fourth grade kids is going be State champion would be a little pretentious. There’s a lot that happens between but there was no doubt about it, that team had the ability to do it, and they felt that they were winners from the start.” Taking a walk down memory lane helped to focus on what really made these kids winners. They have a winning mindset and goals they want to accomplish.
“It was our ultimate goal to win and compete in the championship. It’s almost a relief that all our hard work and dedication paid off. I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other team. I believe the community might be more excited than us in some cases. They put in so much support and excitement and have been waiting their entire lives for this moment,” said Jake Lynott.
Lastly, this group of athletes would not be who they are without the guidance and support of the West Sioux coaching staff. It is obvious that this group of men work well together and are good at what they do. Schwiesow believes they’re the best in the state.
Schwiesow ended with, “The thing about our coaching staff is they get along so well and know what they’re supposed to do. Because of that, we are able to be successful. They don’t have egos. They just want to do their job, and they’re in it for the right reasons, that being, to make sure that the kids are getting to be better football players and better people.” Establishing these role models in the lives of the players made a difference.
The players recognize what their accomplishments this season have meant to the fans.
“I feel like I’m on top of a mountain after winning that title. Best feeling ever. It feels great that we could bring this title back for the community. They’ve been waiting for it for a very long time. In my opinion, the community is super happy for us and excited for us. Their support was great all season long,” said Darlin Marquez.
It was really special to be in the UNI Dome and see the sea of red up in the stands during the semi-final and final playoff games. People showed up at the bell to welcome home the team after the big game. The community gathered together in the high school gym on Tuesday, November 21st to properly celebrate the entire team and coaches also.
Zach Hulshof said, “Winning felt really good, and I think it was awesome for the school district and the community.”
It was a terrific season to be a part of. The team and individuals set many new records that were very impressive. The fans are looking forward to next year and seeing what else these boys can accomplish.