It’s a beautiful, sunny Tuesday in July, but rather than spending the day at the beach, the San Lorenzo Valley Varsity Football players are lifting weights in the high school gym. It is all part of their training regime. The student athletes are preparing to improve on their 5-5 finish from last season. And while the players have been working hard all summer, the preparation for a successful season goes beyond the weight room.
“We’re preparing our players to win not just this season, but throughout their entire lives," said David Poetzinger, head coach of the varsity squad. “If we can learn to sacrifice ourselves for our brothers through football, the lessons we learn will carry over and turn our players into the fathers, husbands and honorable men we want these kids to grow into.”
Football has taught high schoolers many lessons that will prove to be valuable, especially as adults. Hitting the weight room at 6 a.m or performing under pressure in front of hundreds of people have helped build character among these young men.
“Football taught us responsibility and a strong work ethic because it’s a year-round commitment,” said Stevie Markey, Senior QB. “Responsibility is important to learn in high school, and will help us throughout life.”
After finishing 8-8, the team is eager to prove that they are capable of dominating their division. To accomplish this, the players are keeping themselves in check off the field.
“We have a ‘Zero T’ policy, which means we have zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol," said Gabriel Michaud, Senior Guard. “We’re dedicating ourselves to that and not letting any off-field distractions bring us down.”
Up next, the team will travel to Reno, Nevada and play Wooster High School on August 24. SLV football regularly takes one road trip per year, as they have played in Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe in past years. These trips have been great team-building and bonding experiences, according to Poetzinger.
“We try to broaden their horizon and open their eyes to the world," said Poetzinger. “Staying in the hotel room together, eating pizza together, playing a game the next day, going to Disneyland and road tripping back was a great time to spend together as a football family. It was a great trip, and I’m sure this one will be too.”
The SLV football program has several core values such as ‘No personal fouls’ or to sacrifice one’s self for “his brothers.” By creating brotherhood and selfless atmosphere, the players have come together as a family.
“Coach always tells us that our hatred of the other team won’t help us win," said Aidan Callahan, Senior TE. “It’s our love within our family and brothers that will help us persevere.”
Real success is a byproduct of hard work and upstanding character. Football and life go hand-in-hand by promoting these values. The lessons learned through this sport go beyond winning on the field, it teaches young men how to succeed in life.
“Everybody focuses on the score. There are rushing yards, tackles, interceptions, and all those stats”, said Poetzinger. “But our goals go beyond this season and how we performed on the field. We want to build a foundation for our players to become a success in life. We have alumni that come back and talk about how the values we instilled in them has remained an important part of their lives.”
For the returning seniors, this will be their last season playing together. Winning their division, CCS or going undefeated are all primary goals, but their comradery and dedication to each other will be what they will value most about playing high school football.
“Of course we want to finish the season 13-0, but it’s our brotherhood that we’re going to remember”, said Malakai Lawton, Senior LB. “I’m going to remember our bond and experiences more than what our record was.”
- Danny Glenn is a summer news intern. He can be reached at (831)438-2500.