It’s De Ja Vu for 2018 Warriors.
As the Schuyler Central High School football players and coaches pack away the equipment and uniforms for another year, it must have felt very much like packing things up after the 2017 season.
A year ago the Warriors started out slow, lost their first eight games but gained valuable experience and progress and ended the season with a much-needed win over the South Sioux City Cardinals in a battle of 0-8 teams.
This year the Warriors started out slowly, lost their first eight games but gained valuable experience and progress, then ended the season with a 35-20 win over those same Cardinals in a battle of 0-8 teams.
Schuyler lost their season opener to Nebraska City by a score of 41-8 then made the long trek to Lexington where they dropped a 49-0 decision.
Week 3 was Homecoming for the Warriors and a matchup with Douglas County West.
The Warriors trailed 8-6 at half and looked like they were poised to pull out victory No. 1 of the season, but they fell flat in the second half and lost by the score of 42-6.
In the final fray before entering district competition, SCHS traveled to Omaha and was soundly defeated by Gross Catholic 42-0
Even though the game scores indicated otherwise, the Warriors were beginning to improve in their running game on offense and were gaining in strength on defense as well.
In district action, the Warriors found the going to be extremely tough as they fell to Mount Michael Benedictine 59-0, Blair 49-7, Bennington 46-7, and Roncalli Catholic 52-6 before ending the season with the victory over South Sioux.
“When we took over this program, we made it very clear to our players that this was going to be a process and it would take hard work day in and day out and year in and year out to get this program back to where we knew it could be," coach Aaron Thumann said.
"I think the biggest thing our team should take away from this season is that we are capable and have shown that we can play with good playoff-caliber teams. We need to continue to work and play a full four quarters, but we are capable and can play with them.
"That’s a big step for our program that we can definitely continue to improve if we keep working. We also saw that we can move the football and we can score some points. We need to get better and we need to keep growing but we showed that we can move the ball well against a lot of teams and defenses.”
Several key pieces of both the offense and defense played their final games in October as senior members of the club. Thumann knows they will be tough to replace.
“The biggest thing about our seniors was their coachability and flexibility throughout the season," he said. "They wanted nothing more than to win, and they were willing to do whatever it took to do it.
"Caden (Shonka) was asked to play multiple positions on defense and he willingly did it. Alexis Robles and Miguel Roman came back out for football for the first time since middle school. They started at the bottom of the depth chart and worked their way to starters.
"Jesus Maganda did a lot of changing positions as well playing inside and outside linebacker and learning quarterback along with fullback. And you can’t say enough about his will and effort in that last game. He was not going to be defeated. I was honored to have the opportunity to coach all of our seniors.”
With most people seeing improvement in a program coming by way of more notches in the victory column, Thumann looks ahead to 2019 with much excitement and a positive attitude that progress will continue in his program.
“I think that we have a lot of good quality talent and experience coming back for next year. On defense, we have a lot of experience coming back at defensive back in Axel Soto, Donny Rice, and Felix Cruz. We lose a couple outstanding linebackers in Jesus Maganda and Michael Hernandez, but we have our leading tackler, Travis Marxsen, returning alone with Jaime Lira and Olvin Lopez.
“Offensively we have some good talent returning for us. Our backfield should be very good. We have a lot of experience returning back there for us with Elmer Salazar and Travis Marxsen. We have Merrick Kort and Nolan Healy returning for us at quarterback. We also have Olvin Lopez and Jesus Carrasco who got experience at fullback and running back for us this past season. Finally, we have Adrian Francisco coming back at tight end.”
In his closing comments, Coach Thumann had high praise for everyone who supported his team throughout the season.
“I’d just like to take an opportunity to thank all of our Warrior fans and the community if Schuyler. They have all been awesome and it was great seeing crowds and the support we had at the games. They have helped us 'Row the Boat' and help this program grow each year.”
2018 Senior SCHS Warriors Football Players: Pietro Caligiana, Rosel Diaz, Mario Encarnacion, Richard Gonzalez, Michael Hernandez, Jesus Maganda, Denilson Martinez, Alec Parry, Alexis Robles, Emmanuel Rocha, Kevin Rodriguez, Roberto Rodriguez, Miguel Roman, Jelder Velasco, Cayden Yrkoski.
Doug Phillips is a freelance writer for The Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at SCHsports@lee.net