Team kicks off a new spirit to football program


Payge Adair

Junior fullback Eli Hawkins fights off Clinton defenders, during the first home game of the season. The Wildcats won against the Cardnials with a score of 14-12. Photo by Payge Adair.

Varsity football is bringing back the love and spirit to Friday night lights. Warsaw had an emotional start to the season with a win against the Clinton Cardinals. This was their first varsity win since 2014. The team has continued to add wins in close games with Cole Camp and Versailles.

  “Winning feels completely amazing after not (winning) for three years. It’s really made this a great year so far and I’m happy I get to share the experience with my brothers,” said senior wide receiver and corner  Ryan Sprouse.

  Players give much credit to the team culture created by a mostly new coaching staff.

 According to players,  in the past, they felt as if the team and coaches were divided and not working together. The team did their own thing and never grasped the concept of teamwork. But a new coaching staff created a big impact on the team. They continue to teach them that, even if they’re having a rough time, to keep their heads up and continue to work hard.

  There are many new coaches that joined the team this year, with only two being from the previous year. Coach Jared Steenburgen has returned as the running back and linebacker coach. Another returning coach Nathan Parker, trains the defensive line and wide receivers. Coach Shawn Hummel assists with linebackers and running backs. Coach Kyle Stoecklein works with the defensive and offensive line in his first year at Warsaw. Former Lincoln Cardinal’s head coach Danny Morrison is offensive coordinator and former Smith Cotton head coach Ryan Boyer is the new Warsaw head coach and also fills the role of defensive coordinator.

  “They have completely changed the culture of Warsaw football and the attitudes of the players on the team,” said junior fullback Eli Hawkins.

  After three seasons without many wins, the losses had become commonplace and players said it did not affect them that much to lose a game. That attitude has changed, according to players.

  The coaches encourage the players to keep fighting for wins at every game. They continue to push the limits at practice and make sure that they keep their heads up and try their best. The new program the coaches introduced is complex to first-year players but to others it’s not difficult to follow.

  Even with the success the team has had, they are still at 3-3 this season. With every win shows improvement but, the cost of losing pays out in character building.

   “I have seen confidence improve in our team.  Their trust in one another grows each week,” said head coach Ryan Boyer.

  The feeling of winning three games and losing two have affected some spirits of players.

  “Our spirits considering we’re 3-2 right now are still high. The two games we lost are in the past and we can’t change them so all we can do now is look forward to the next game and give it our all,” said junior running back and linebacker Kieon Davis in an earlier season interview.

  Many new techniques have been brought to the players. They are conditioning more, learning new blocking and tackling movements, and have circuits for defense and turnovers. The coaches have focused on not only giving the team practice time, but working with each player individually.

  Junior varsity practices the same techniques as the varsity team. They learn the program together and drill with each other. If JV continues to use the techniques they are learning and put their heart and soul into everything they do, Warsaw Wildcat football could have a very successful future.

  “They (coaches) really set a tone from the start and had a new energy. My spirits are high but we have a ways to go,” said sophomore running back Zach Chapman.

  JV is 3-2 as well and hope to continue winning. They’ve been focusing on running the ball with different footwork and playing secondary more than what it’s been in the past. As they try to keep up with varsity techniques, they hope all of this will pay off in the end.