Hare kept the playbook very simple, implementing just four plays, which in turn limited the team‘s potential for making mistakes. One of those plays got his running back Austin Rauh into the end zone for one of two touchdowns in the annual contest.
“Your timing is not going to be there. You’re running 10 different guys and everyone is trying to learn their assignments. Actually, for the amount of practice we had, I thought we executed pretty well,” Hare said.
While the Silver team came out on top, the Sertoma Classic isn’t all about which team prevails on the scoreboard. It’s a unique event that provides opportunities high school athletes very rarely experience.
For four days this week, football players are able to bond with guys from other schools, after spending the last four years facing off with those same guys on the gridiron during the school year.
“It’s fun to get out there and hit again and hang out with the guys again,” Reed center Collin Tuttle said. “We used to always talk crap about the other guys, but after coming out and playing with them, you realize they’re basically the same.”
Friday night was the 30th installment of the Classic. It’s lasted this long because it never lost its importance to the players, especially with the game being played at Mackay Stadium.
“It’s weird because I didn’t get to play in the playoff game, so this game means a lot to me,” SSHS wide receiver Dylan Woll said. “It’s fun to get together with all the guys that you hear about all year. They’re big-time guys. They’re the best around, so you get to see how you match up with them. It’s kind of like the next level in my opinion. It’s a great honor.”
For the players from the 3A and 2A schools, Friday was the only time they would get to truly see how they stack up against the best the 4A has to offer. The 4A is generally considered the most talented class of athletics based on the larger school sizes.
“It’s a dream come true. After our last game against Wooster, I thought that was it,” Sparks wide receiver Doug Chinchilla said. “Just to know there’s one more left, it’s a dream come true. When me and Henry (Banks) found out the news, we were surprised and so happy. It’s crazy. Of course you’re anticipating playing with the 4A. As part of the 3A, you just want to know what it’s like playing with guys from the next level.
Some of the participants in Friday night’s game will go on to play at the college level. Others will not. Woll will continue his playing days at Feather River College next year, but he couldn’t imagine what it would be like if this was the last time he strapped up on the gridiron.
“I don’t know how I would feel. It’s hard to say it’s finally over,” Woll said. “I still get to play another day, so that’s nice to know. But the kids who don’t get to play another day, I don’t know what I would do because I love this game so much.”
But because this could be a player’s last game ever, this game means even more to them. Spanish Springs tight end Travis Mullins is trying to play football at a Div. III school in California, but if that falls through, Friday night will likely be his final game.
“I remember freshman year walking out into the (SSHS) stadium and thinking it was the best feeling ever. I can’t believe I get to walk out in front of a crowd at a college stadium. That’s probably one of the greatest feelings I will ever have.” Mullins said. “I’ve just been thinking this might be the last time I put on a helmet and strap my cleats and go play the game I’ve been playing since I was 7.”