Football team remembers their coach

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STANLEY, WIS. (WEAU) -- Year after year, the Stanley-Boyd seventh grade football team always looks a little different. Names and faces come just as fast as they go.

But for the past 10 years, one thing had always been the same.

"I've had an opportunity to have a lot of great coaches and coach Skaare was definitely one of them," said Ryan Ponick, an 8th grade football player at Stanley-Boyd Middle School.

Head coach Steve Skaare was the familiar face, the man on the sidelines players looked to from season start to end.

"I don't think there is a person in Stanley Boyd he hasn't known or touched so when you say he died, I think everyone knows about it," he added.

But tonight's final seventh grade game of the season was the team's first night without Coach Skaare.

"I think everybody was just shocked," said Kane Martinson, an eighth grade football player at Stanley-Boyd Middle School.

Martinson played for Coach Skaare last year, remembering how the coach would always talk with him after practice while Martinson waited for his ride home.

It was that "kids first" attitude that everyone says set him apart.

"He always was asking what we could do for the kids," said Nate Steinmetz, who coaches eighth grade football at Stanley-Boyd.

On the field, it meant giving all kids an opportunity to play. Off the field, being a mentor, and making sure school came first.

"So he always checked up on their work before they came to practice," Steinmetz added.

On the final night of their season, faced with a heartbreaking situation, the undefeated seventh grade team came in knowing what they had to do.

"We just gotta win for him, we don't want to lose, especially with him passing we want to win," Martinson said.

Touchdown after touchdown, the team put points on the board. And when it came down to the final seconds of the game, they clenched their final victory of the season. Coach Skaare on their minds and in their hearts.

"He was good to everyone in the community, he did everything for us, practiced hard with us and did real good," said Brandon Herrick, who plays football for the seventh grade team at Stanley-Boyd Middle School.

And tonight, the team returned the favor.

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