Calves win districts

By: 
Hannah Gross

Submitted photos

In the photo above, the Newcastle Middle School Calves face off the Moorcroft Wolves on the line of scrimmage. Below, Connor Stolhammer, running back for the Calves, is tackled by a Moorcroft opponent near the 10-yard line at their Sept. 15 game.

 

Hannah Gross

NLJ Correspondent 

 

Focusing on “one game at a time” led the Newcastle Middle School football team to win the district championships for the fifth time in the past six years, according to head coach Allen Von Eye, with a 20-point victory against Wright in a 40-20 home game. 

“We played the best game of our season in all three phases and really dominated the football game against a very good opponent,” Von Eye said.

COVID-19 presented its challenges to the team, but the players didn’t let that stop them. Normally, a summer camp is held, which helps the Newcastle footballers to get ahead of the game early in the season, but they were unable to do so this year. 

Throughout the season, there were many postponed or canceled games and practices due to quarantines of players and coaches, making it “incredibly hard to be consistent.” Losing to Sundance 0-13, while Wright beat Sundance 20-0, didn’t make things look good on paper, but Von Eye didn’t lose hope. 

“I feel that this really challenged us and gave us an opportunity to look at ourselves. We knew we were the better team but didn’t show it on the field,” he said. 

Running back and middle linebacker Connor Stolhammer echoed his coach’s thoughts. 

“I know there was one game against Sundance we really wished we could have played again, but we learned a lot from it, and it made us better, I think.  By the last several games, I think we came together and played hard and didn’t give up,” Stolhammer said. 

Through the help of the coaches, the team learned to grow every day and not compare themselves to others, according to Von Eye, and when districts rolled around, the outcome proved to be worth the effort. 

“If we are getting better day by day and week by week, we feel we will be the best team by the end of the season,” Von Eye said. “I was incredibly proud of our guys. All the hard work and challenges we’d been faced with in an inconsistent season paid off, and we showed that we were the best team in the area again.”

According to cornerback Jayden Corley, the team’s communication is what led them to victory, and quarterback Scotty Larson said newcomers Stolhammer and Andrew Williams were huge assets to the team. 

“He (Stolhammer) just tore it up on the field,” Larson said. 

“Our season felt really good, mainly because, as a team, we were able to communicate and listen to each other,” Corley said.

It’s fun for the team, Stolhammer said, to work together “in sync,” and he enjoys the “physical effort it is for a team to be successful.” 

However, the focus isn’t always about winning, and it’s important to have fun. Larson said the coaches made the season enjoyable. 

“I like playing because of the coaches — they just make it fun,” Larson said. 

Winning districts is the goal for every season, and with another win in the books, Von Eye said he looks forward to next year because he has a strong group of seventh graders right now, with “a good crew of sixth moving up.” 

“We will work our tails off to grow each and every day and challenge ourselves and our growth,” Von Eye said.

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