More in Schools:
- Mesa Verde players win Golden Empire League awards, lose playoffs February 19, 2020
- Mesa Verde boys varsity enjoy Senior Night win, playoff berth February 16, 2020
- Seniors lead Mesa Verde Girls Varsity to best season in 15 years February 13, 2020
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By Marcus D. Smith–
Senior night is always a bittersweet night of football and a range of emotions flow all throughout the game.
Understandably, it being the last time the seniors suit up on a Friday night on the gridiron. There are legacies that they’ve started and left for the underclass men to aspire to continue.
“I always feel like we could do better,” said senior running back, Jaedyn Reddick. “The culture has always been a little rocky, but I can see the change coming. It will be coming soon for sure, and as a senior I’m going to do anything I can to make the school better [like] come back out [as an alumni].”
This was a fight from beginning to end. The Spartans would go on to lose the game 50-14, but they sent a message from the beginning of kickoff.
Despite being down at halftime, you could feel the passion from the players hugging each other during the senior night ceremony. It was bigger than football.
“I wouldn’t want it with anybody else,” said senior Wyatt Winalski. “You know it’s kind of something that you’ll always remember, and the fact that I came out here senior year and I got the opportunity from my coaches and stuff — it’s amazing.”
The last four years for these guys have taken them on a roller coaster together. From freshmen year to senior year they have battled and fought together.
“The ones that stuck with me even though things were getting hard but the people that always were there to pick me up, especially during conditioning, if I was having a tough time,” said Winalski. “There were my brothers to have my back, and I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.”
Spartans Varsity Head Coach Andy Villegas has had a first row seat in watching the development of these young men, as he has played a huge role, coaching them since their freshman year.
“The guys that stayed and fought through, they put the work in. I’m just so proud of them,” he told The Sentinel. “It shows that they are able to commit and finish something that they commit to, and that’s not something that a lot of guys can do.”
The most important thing was the maturation process and growth for the guys as they continue to strive to achieve their desires past high school football.
The school year isn’t over, some will go on to play winter sports such as basketball or wrestling. Others will await the spring to participate in baseball or track and field.
“I’m hoping to go to college and play some baseball, so I got that, those tears to shed when it comes time, so I’ll save it for that,” said Winalski on his future plans after high school football.
For fellow senior Jaedyn Reddick, his plans include a focus on working out and hopefully playing football after high school, but if that doesn’t work out he has other options to fall back on.
“[I’m] Getting looked at right now, [by] Fresno State. But if that doesn’t work out I’m going to go to the Marines and just go to college from there, and just work my way up from there,” said Reddick.
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For younger guys, like sophomore James Hard, they will focus on other sports this year and coming back stronger for next football season.
Hard especially is looking forward to his football return after suffering a broken collarbone and will be out of contact sports for two months.
He expects to participate in wrestling and baseball in the upcoming seasons.
As for the Spartans football team, this wraps up their season in the Sierra Delta League, and Coach Villegas’ first year as Varsity head coach.
“It was all a learning experience and [in] the last half I put my younger guys in,” the coach said. “[It was] good to give them the experience, good to give them the workout, but I’m sad because I had a lot of really good senior athletes and having a mostly senior team come out this way is going to be kind of hard.”
Mesa Verde Recap
Mesa Verde was in action on Friday night as they went to visit the best team in the conference in Casa Roble.
The Mavericks entered the game looking to end their season with a victory after dropping a game to Woodland High School.
Mesas Verde’s offense was neutralized as they only put forth a field goal in the first quarter and this would be the only points on the scoreboard for the Mavericks.
The final score ended up being 43-3, as Casa Roble would go on to take care of business at home.
This win would solidify their season as the best in the Golden Empire League, winning the GEL championship with a record of 5-0 in league, and 7-3 overall.
Mesa Verde has a bright future to look ahead to as they ended the season 5-4 overall and 2-3 in league play. This is the best record the varsity football program has seen in some years. They quintupled their total win shares from last year, going from 1-9 to now 5-4.
Sports Reporter Marcus D. Smith covers high school sports in Citrus Heights. Smith is a Sacramento-area native and earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2017.
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