Charlottesville, Virginia Gets the Nod
The Winner of the “Worst to First” Award is Trevor Henry and his Charlottesville, Virginia team. His Junior Midget team which is made up of boys 10-12 and older but lighter 13 year olds had finished 0-8 last season. In 2008, after implementing the Winning Youth Football System to the letter, this team went 8-0 and won a League Championship.
From 0-8 to a Perfect 8-0
After a disappointing 2007, this team went on to average over 35 points per game using our Single Wing offense this season. The previous season this team had averaged less than 8 points per game. On defense, using our Wide Tackle 6 in 2008, they averaged giving up just 4 points per game. After winning the League Championship, Trevor’s team went on to lose in the Regionals of the Pop Warner National Championships, while fielding a small non-select team with just 2 older-but-lighter players and 24 players total. Needless to say, this team became the talk of the league and the small town in which they reside. Fortunately, his players handled their newfound prowess and attention getting results very well.
Winning the Right Way
I was very glad to hear Coach Henry and his staff were extremely sportsmanlike, as most of their games were in “mercy rule” mode by halftime. When you get beat up and poured on by teams the year before, many coaches find it difficult to turn the other cheek when they have the chance at payback. Coach isn’t that kind of guy, I’m happy to report. They could have easily averaged over 50 points per game. Coach even got most of his players the ball, with 9 of his 24 players scoring touchdowns.
Congrats to all of his players, the entire coaching staff and all the parents for a great season. Trevor is a very humble and caring coach who when I called him and told him he had won, he graciously gave all the credit to his boys, his assistant coaches and the system. In my mind he deserves a huge chunk of the credit in spite of his humble protests. Coach was embarrassingly effusive in his praise and appreciation for the system, but again I put the credit squarely in the lap of him and his players. Not all who read the books or DVDs actually follow what’s in them.
Like many of us, he stuck to his plan even when parents were looking at him funny when he wasn’t spending half of his practice time conditioning kids to death or doing endless scrimmaging. He stuck to his guns when they were looking at him sideways when the boys were practicing the wedge play. Funny thing was, by game 3 the parents were calling for him to run the wedge from the stands, it was the teams signature play. It takes a special coach to have the vision and follow-through to make a complete turnaround like Trevor’s team did. Hat’s off to him and his coaching staff for putting their egos aside and turning over a new leaf while paying extreme attention to the details you have to do when pulling off a League Title season.
I’m sorry it took so long to choose a winner, but there were so many worthy teams and compelling stories. I had to sort through 153 entries, of which many will be making their way to the testimonial page in the next week or so. Check them out when you have a few minutes and need something to put a smile on your face. For those that didn’t win the award, please take solace that I agonized over who to choose as the final winner. Part of your “reward” should be the knowledge you did your very best and put a bunch of smiles on the faces of your players.
I also know there were many deserving coaches that didn’t even enter. I spoke to a coach on the phone at seasons end that decided to coach for the first time in 2008 because his sons team didn’t even score a touchdown in 2007. He claimed there were 3 games where they never even registered a first down in 2007. He called me after their first game almost breathlessly, explaining how his team had scored 4 touchdownsi in one game. His goals before the season started were very meager, he was hoping they would score a touchdown or two. He never dreamed they would win a game. By seasons end they had won 6 or more games if I recall correctly. I asked him to e-mail me, the details but sadly he never did.
Youth Football Coaching Withdrawl
While many of you are in “football withdrawl”, this is the part of the year I actually enjoy most, hearing what a difference so many of you have made in the lives of the boys you coached. I absolutely love hearing the worst to first stories because we all know that when a team has that type of turnaround that a very high percentage of those kids will come back and play the following year. When a player knows he can compete, we have a very good chance of getting him back. If we get him back, there is a very good chance that player will develop a love and appreciation for the game. When they do that, they will gain the life lessons the game teaches us all and more, if they are coached by a youth football coach with the right motives and tools. All of these stories bring a huge smile to my wife and I’s faces, knowing we may have had a small part to play in these young mens lives. Our hope is we can be a catalyst for change in the lives of some coaches and in turn the boys that play for them. Thanks again to everyone for keeping us posted on how your season went, it means a lot to us.
Tevor won an “Ultimate Package” ($280) free admission to any Winning Youth Football Clinic of his choice ($89) and a nice plaque.
Great Upcoming Posts
Keep coming back to the blog, This week it will include some details of the Pop Warner National Championships and how several teams running the WYF System did on their path to a National Crown in Orlando. While there are many other great youth football leagues out there and Pop Warner has its faults, Pop Warner does a very nice job of putting together a true National Champion of the thousands of teams in their Organization.
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