This is easily one of my favorite articles ever written about one of my team’s games.  One of the things that I pride myself on as a coach is being able to get the absolute most I can out of a team.  Many coaches have complimented me on the fact that my team played them very hard.  Sometimes that has come after we beat them, other times we lost.  But I love to hear, no matter win or lose, “your kids played their hearts out tonight.”
I really think that is one of the most important characteristics a coach can have: getting the most out of his players.  Sometimes, the game won’t come down to the xs and os.  It won’t come down to who is faster, or who is stronger, or who is bigger.  It will come down to who wants it more, who has more heart.
This article highlights a game from 2005 when I was the Head Coach at Linfield Christian.  We played a team called Western Christian, who was in a Division one step higher than us.  As our busses pulled up to the stadium, we saw festive balloons and a banner that read “Welcome Alumni!” That’s right, Western choose to play the might Lions for homecoming.  There isn’t much of a bigger insult to a team than being picked as the homecoming opponent.  This helped to fire up the boys just a bit.
I’ll never forget warming up that night.  We were a much smaller team.  And some of the players from the opposing side were literally laughing at our size as both teams prepared.  I heard two of their players talking about how they were going to smoke us, mainly because we were so much smaller than they were.  And they were right, we were tiny that year.  Definitely smaller than these guys!  But I’ve always been a firm believer that at the high school level, size doesn’t matter too much!
My favorite part of the quote is in bold below, by their Head Coach.  Look at what he has to say about our team!  I love it!

Errors hurt Lancers in a 42-13 home loss

By Charles Jones, Correspondent


COVINA — Errors plagued Western Christian High School on Saturday night as the Lancers dropped a 42-13 nonleague decision to Linfield Christian at Charter Oak High.

The first series of plays set the tone for the Lancers.

Starting from their own 16, the Lancers (2-5) fumbled their first snap but recovered the football. Then, on the next play, a delay-of-game penalty pushed the ball back to the Western Christian 11.

After the Lancers punted from their end zone on fourth down, giving Linfield Christian excellent field position at the Western Christian 40, the Lions scored their first of five touchdowns in six plays when some sloppy tackling by the Lancers aided their cause.

Lancers coach Steve Loumagne was not happy with his team in the second quarter, challenging them to step up and make some plays.

But it didn’t happen for the Western Christian offense until late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Jordan Doolittle hooked up with wide receiver Luke Fernandez on a 40-yard scoring play with just 1:11 remaining.

The Lancers scored their first touchdown on defense in the first half when linebacker Jeff McGregor picked up a fumble and returned the ball 90 yards for the score.

“These two teams were evenly matched, but Linfield brought more intensity to the game,” Loumagne said afterward. “If we had played the entire game like we did on our final possession, the outcome would have been much different.

“We must regain this intensity as we enter league play.”

Senior Lancers linebacker Andrew Sparks, a two-way performer, was relentless with his play the entire game.

But the Lancers didn’t have enough individuals step up.

“When the opposing team starts most plays on your own 30-yard line, it makes it difficult to win,” Loumagne said.