ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Stanley-Boyd state champions

Midway through the high school football season we honored the Stanley-Boyd football team as our Gordy's Athlete of the Week. At that time they were undefeated, dominating opponents on offense and defense but would not talk about a state championship. Last week in Madison they won the state title and now they can talk about it. Congratulations to our first 2x Athlete of the Week honorees in the same season, the Stanley-Boyd football team.

"We made it obvious to everyone in town, we even took some heat over it in town, that this was the goal for our team. We were going to work hard enough to be state champions, we're gonna practice hard enough to be state champions," says Stanley-Boyd head coach, Jeff Koenig.

After the initial team meeting this fall, there was no more talk of state title dreams, instead the focus shifted to a game to game mentality. The Orioles had spent the entire off-season using frustrations from a first round loss last year to fuel a championship season.

"We talked when we lost. It was just like, we have to come back, absolutely hungry. Just ready to push it. Countless times in the weight room and just pushing it every yard in practice," says running back, Ronny Ponick

Stanley-Boyd's won state in 1995, and finished runner-up in '96, the current team doesn't remember those days since it was the same year many of these boys were born, but they understand history.

"We know the tradition that Stanley-Boyd has. Just as the coaches, there's a lot of familiar faces, a lot of people that played back then even," says quarterback, Tyler Sorensen.

"Our coaching staff has been tremendous. They put us in the right spot, to be in the right position. Make all the big plays. It's a lot of hard work and team effort from all the players...it's just like family out there," says wide receiver, Dusty Spaeth.

This season was marked with a lot of hard work and determination and it paid off. On the eve of the state championship the Orioles had their favorite practice yet, exciting them for their big game.

"We had that snow on the ground, the kids loved it. They didn't want to go home. And that's what we're excited about it. That they have a blast, they love being together, they're a great group of friends and they tough together," adds Koenig.

This team stands proud as they left their mark on the program.

"Hope we left a good legacy because we've worked hard since 5th grade, going to practice, working out in the weight room and it finally came," says running back, Craig Mason.


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