2000 Football season:  A Year to Remember!

A Year To Remember-Football 2000
by Coach Steve Lyga

The season started off late last October,
I can’t remember the date.
would determine its “own” fate.

The new weight room was opened,
nearly 20 football players would attend.
The captains providing leadership,
a new “message” would they send.

“Bigger, Faster, Stronger”,
seemed to push our kids to the core.
Could we send the program in the right direction?...,
and what would be in store?

The captains led by lifting,
and getting people to believe.
If we all worked out religiously,
there are certain things that we WILL achieve.

Over 40 kids started the season,
the “Wishbone” offense was back.
A solid senior “seven”,
Ritchie and Bushman will lead the attack.

A solid test at the scrimmage,
a tougher practice we couldn’t prepare.
We lost some players early,
and had to toughen up from there.

Plum City would be our first opponent,
11 seniors they brought with today.
A brand new field , a “HOME” game,
just what could stand in our way?

Only 7 offensive plays in the second half,
without the ball it’s tough to score,
An 18 to 12 season opening loss,
left us with holes we couldn’t ignore.

A few adjustments on defense,
a former starter from last year comes back.
We feel that we’ll be stronger,
Gary Gumbert is again running with the pack.

A road trip to Lanesboro, Minnesota,
a game against the Burros.
We are now ready to put it on the line,
ready to plow “new furrows”.

It didn’t take too long,
on the Burro’s flood soaked field.
For the Pirates to get it rolling,
the defense refused to yield.

The option offense was starting to pick up speed,
but Brian Abts wasn’t able to run.
Kyle Bushman and Mike Sobotta were starting to jell,
this was getting fun.

Finally we are playing well,
we picked up the non-conference win.
The score was 35-6,
our “Dairyland Title Run” was about to begin.

A solid team of experienced lineman,
Independence would bring into town.
A hard fought game throughout the night,
the winner takes a step towards the “Crown”.

We feel we also have some good lineman,
not as experienced, or near their size.
But with the pride in Phil Lipinski’s heart,
The Indees will be in for a big surprise.

If you talk about playing “big”,
It’s not about the size of the line.
It’s the all-out effort that someone brings,
It’s about “hustle” all of the time.

The defense played outstanding,
the offense “dropped the ball”.
An overtime game may be exciting,
but , what a way to start the fall?

The defense again held strong,
a missed field goal in 4 downs.
The offense rushed for the touchdown,
a celebration was all around.

Another road trip to Eleva-Strum,
to be played up in the “swamp”.
22 first quarter points,
this game should be a romp.

The D-backs, however, failed to follow their rule,
they didn’t get deep enough.
The Cards tied the game in the 2nd quarter,
we had to prove we still had the “stuff”.

The special teams forced a turn-over,
the field position we did sport.
Another touchdown at the end of the half,
brought this ship to port.

Three and one overall,
and 2 wins in the Dairyland chase.
Undefeated Blair-Taylor comes to town next week,
we need to stay in the race.

A little rain would help us,
the team’s defense would reign supreme.
An interception of a “hail Mary” pass,
Matt Molback cruised back through the seam.

With a 7 to nothing lead at the half,
a third quarter field goal Arturo Veloz did kick.
Hey believe it! We are now 3 and 0,
the Wildcats are feeling kind of sick.

Our homecoming game was next in line,
undefeated Melrose-Mindoro came to us.
A sell out (?) crowd, no place to park,
we were ready to “Ride This Bus”.

This “Bus Ride” was getting fun,
the crowd was loud as they could be,
We’ve got the Mustangs on the run,
let’s celebrate this winning spree.

A four and zero record,
could this be “a season of dreams?”
The offense was hitting on all cylinders,
and running through all the seams.

Winless Whitehall would be next in line,
let’s roll over ‘em and get out of town.
Another 40 to 6 win,
a giant step towards the Dairyland Crown.

Five consecutive wins,
a trip to Lincoln, who was winless as well.
Pulling out all the stops by half time,
a 37-0 lead would be swell.

A double reverse pass,
and a quarterback throwback had worked just great.
Let’s play the reserves the second half,
resting the varsity sealed the Hornets fate.

Each and every student-athlete,
has played a role in this championship trip.
Standing in our way was now Alma-Gilmanton,
we just can’t afford a slip.

Alma-Gilmanton always seems to play us well,
their own play-off spot on the line.
A blocked punt put them on the board 1st,
“Who’s tougher, their team or mine?”

Slowly but surely we drove the ball,
to take the lead by one.
A few more TD passes from Bushman to Molback,
this season was second to none.

A championship flag is carried around,
a jubilant “Number 1” rises out strong and hardy.
We watched the parents storm the field,
and were surrounded by a “Championship Party”.

With the 26 to 13 win to end the year
we handed out a number of “licks”.
An undefeated conference season,
the first since 1966!

A play-off game, our first on the new field,
we were the Region’s number 2 seed,
North Crawford came to mix it up,
but couldn’t match our power or speed.

With Mike Sobotta playing his best,
running for nearly 200 yards.
The Pirates emerge victorious,
another win was in the cards.

That victory gives us nine consecutive wins,
a school record was now in the books.
Another home play-off game....,
we’re starting to get some looks.

Believe it, a 10 and 1 record,
with “Kentucky” running through our mind.
The FFA boys were headed down south,
a “National Championship” to find.

The team would get brought back together,
on late Friday afternoon.
It was time to get it rolling again,
the Chieftains would be arriving soon.

Osseo-Fairchild brought the horses,
nearly 20 seniors on their list.
They pounded on us hard and celebrated,
as they raised the pointer from their fist.

I feel the Chieftains will probably end up State Champions,
when it’s all said and done.
But we’ll keep our heads high, and never look back,
this season has been mighty fun.

We will never forget this season,
and the trophy we earned this fall.
A “True Team” that came together,
the championship banner says it all.

Ritchie said it all one game,
“I have never been a champion in anything!”
This season has meant a lot to all of us,
and the spoils a championship brings.

It’s about time we brought the trophy back home again,
the season had to end.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again,
“We are the CHAMPIONS, My Friend!”