Not sure where to turn for their football fix, 2012 Reed graduates Tyler Carnahan, John Covello and Jared Emerson, along with 2011 Spanish Springs grad Dylan Woll, decided to see what it was like to be a part of the game from the sidelines rather than on the gridiron.
As a part of the coaching staff for the Sierra Youth Football League Varsity Raiders, the recent graduates helped lead the Raiders to an undefeated 11-0 season and a 22-0 championship victory over Reno. For all four, taking home the trophy was the perfect culmination to their coaching debut.
“This whole season has been really rewarding,” Raiders’ defensive coordinator Emerson said. “It definitely filled the void of kind of missing the sport. I mean, we were just playing this time last year. It’s been a pleasure and it’s been an honor to be able to coach this team, especially with how successful the kids have been.
“It means everything to me to be able to finish the season undefeated and win the championship. The smiles on the kids' faces make it all worth it. These kids are so funny and just fun to hang out with. If any of us are having a bad day, they cheer you up.”
The title victory marked the second consecutive undefeated season and championship for the SYFL varsity Raiders, which is composed of seventh graders. While finishing the season perfect was obviously fun, Raiders head coach David Schmidt said the new additions to his coaching staff made the season all that more enjoyable for those on the team.
“The kids really look up to them and respect them. They have a lot of fun with them,” Schmidt said. “I feel like they are more endeared to the kids than the four older coaches are. They bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the practices and games and it’s just something that the older coaches don’t bring to the table. The players had a lot more fun with that. It’s just been a really fun season.”
With practices and games full of high fives and chest pumps, and plenty of jokes and laughs to go around, the coaches injected their passion and love for the game into the youthful Raiders.
“I loved it and I think all the parents and other coaches loved it as well,” Schmidt said of the enthusiasm. “The kids really responded to that. It’s neat. You don’t see a lot of that with youth football. They are almost a combination of a discipline figure as well as a buddy for the kids.”
While the new coaches made sure to bring their energy and fun to the team, earning the latter part of the back-to-back trophies did not come without hard work as well.
“It’s been a lot more work than I thought it was going to be, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” said Woll, who served as the Raiders' offensive coordinator. “I didn’t realize how much film they watch. It’s taken hours out of each day every week since football started. I’ve become very grateful for what our coaches did for us in high school.
“That’s probably been the most fun part for me. Just to take the schemes and actually seeing them develop, and seeing these players doing something with it and being very successful. That brought me a lot of joy because it was fun and I had a blast watching the kids develop and getting to know the kids. I’m excited to see them play in high school and see how far they’ve come. Hopefully some of them go on to do big things with it.”
Although taking the coaching reins took up hours upon hours as well as some adjustments, the coaches did not regret a moment of the season.
“The whole experience has been great. I’ve enjoyed it so much,” Carnahan said. “I’ve had a blast just teaching the younger kids and helping develop them to hopefully play at the level that we got to. I am just happy that I got to contribute to that.”