CANTON — As children, South Vary’s youth workforce, headlined by the Class of 2023, went an ideal 42-0 of their first six years of soccer collectively. With Friday’s state title victory, they acquired to bookend their careers, capping off a 16-0 season.
“These children are superior and I’m so pleased for them. When the clock hit zero, I suppose it was kind of a reduction that these guys achieved what they got down to do,” Raiders coach Dan Yeagley mentioned. “I’m so happy with them. These children, these seniors particularly, are very deserving of this. With how arduous they labored all 12 months. We went by means of a bit adversity there early within the 12 months however they bounced again and made issues occur.”
Being in a small city, the lessons are usually close-knit. These bonds solely make every victory extra gratifying. With a gaggle of 20 seniors this 12 months for South Vary, there’s loads to have fun.
“Profitable state with these boys is superior,” South Vary lineman Chris Colucci mentioned. “We’ve been collectively for a very long time and that is simply the cherry on high.”
Wanting again, there was a transparent turning level for the Raiders this season. Within the fourth week of the season, South Vary performed shut with Struthers, beating them 23-13. Whereas they picked up the win, they weren’t happy.
The Raiders didn’t play as much as their commonplace and it motivated them. That following week, they got here out and took down Poland 48-0. Their response to the early-season adversity made them understand how particular this group is.
“It was really a low level (within the 12 months),” Colucci mentioned. “We have been enjoying Struthers. We didn’t try this properly on offense, so we actually took it to a unique degree that week in apply and now we have simply been higher since then. At halftime in the course of the Poland recreation, it was the loudest I’ve ever heard our workforce. We have been screaming and hollering and that’s once we have been like, ‘We’ve acquired a reasonably rattling good workforce.’”
A giant side of South Vary’s success this season has merely come right down to its angle.
Their response to the Struthers recreation is a major instance of that.
They’re passionate they usually’re emotional, however it’s not excessive. Whereas huge performs are celebrated, it’s by no means extreme.
On the inverse, when issues went unsuitable for South Vary this season, few as they have been, it was rapidly onto the subsequent play.
Senior receiver Shane Lindstrom touched on that after their state championship win over Ironton on Friday. Because the challenges acquired harder, it grew to become an increasing number of necessary to maintain feelings in examine.
“It’s big,” Lindstrom mentioned in regards to the workforce’s demeanor. “Taking part in in opposition to good groups, one play can change momentum and generally is a distinction maker. We made it a degree to not let our highs get too excessive and never let our lows get too low. We stayed degree headed and that’s one of many many issues that make us a terrific workforce.”
That demeanor is a mirrored image of Yeagley himself. By no means too excessive or too low. Even in arguing with officers, he by no means misplaced his cool, choosing a ‘That’s a bummer’ as a substitute of the opposite alternative phrases he might have used.
During the last 28 years he’s constructed up a program that’s a mirrored image of himself.
When requested about it, the seniors talked about that serving to their coach get his first state championship simply makes the win even sweeter.
“I’m simply getting emotional sitting right here fascinated with it,” senior quarterback Billy Skripac mentioned. “To lastly get probably the most precious trophy in highschool sports activities. He deserves each single factor that we’ve gotten this season. Whenever you do one thing for 30 years and also you’re as profitable as he’s, you already know you’re doing one thing proper, you’re an excellent individual and it’s simply nice to do it for him.”
Like each workforce all through the historical past of sports activities nevertheless, this Raiders group has come to an finish. Twenty seniors will probably be turning of their maroon and yellow jerseys for the ultimate time. Some could also be completed with soccer and on to different issues in life.
Whereas tears will certainly be shed, the reminiscence of this success received’t be going away anytime quickly.
The South Vary Class of 2023 certain knew the way to exit with a bang.