EOU turns football team into a family
Not many student-athletes seeking a transfer would jump to a team that finished 1-10 the season before.
However, C.J. Taylor did.
Taylor served as a running back for the EOU football team this season.
After the season finale, Taylor was all smiles.Sure, he ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
But his season was over. Possibly his football career.
Amazingly he was all smiles.
He was with part of his “new family.”
That concept sold him on the school two years before.
And it still rung true to him sitting in the coaches’ office Saturday.
Taylor like all the seniors on the Mountaineers football team were, and are, a part of
something else — the new Mounties.
Head coach Tim Camp told me before the season he wanted the lockerroom to be a place he could take his kids.
The last two seasons that wasn’t an option.
Now his boys run loose around players they can admire.
I laughed at that thought, and knew a little about what he was talking about.
Mondays the last few seasons have been spent seeing which football player showed up in the police blotter.
Those days are gone. You can’t find them.
Taylor wasn’t the only one to go out on top Saturday.
Seniors Chad Achatz, Travis Morscheck, Mario Olivaries, Gavin Smith, Richard Abrams, Scott Dumont, Ryan Warner, Ty Murdock, Adam Donnelly and Steve Head all played in their final game.
Sure they left after a 5-6 season. It wasn’t the best season record-wise in EOU history. But it may have been the most important one.
The foundation has been laid. Incoming players know what to expect. Parents can feel comfortable leaving their kids in the hands of the EOU coaching staff. Plus, the outgoing players feel a sense of ownership in what they helped build.
Fans haven’t seen that for a while at Community Stadium.
And Community Stadium hasn’t seen many fans until this season.
Fans took notice.
Yes, the team is more fun to watch — OK, a lot more fun to watch. But you can root for this team.
The players noticed too. They commented on how amazing it was to see the stands packed. Not just for the first 15 minutes of a game, but for the full game.
Year after year the seniors can come back and see the seed they planted grow.
It may not be next season, although it could be.
But soon the Mountaineers’ tarnished history will be a long forgotten memory.
Case in point: after the game Achatz walked into the coach’s room for an interview. He was still in full gear — 25 minutes after the game.
Acatz didn’t want to leave behind what he poured four years into. Again, another player all smiles even though his run was over.
He may have to pass the torch on, but all the seniors are part of something bigger.
The words etched into his eyeblack said it all, “family for life.”