Metea football builds school pride with first playoff game

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On Sat. Nov. 2, the varsity football team faced off against the Waubonsie Valley Warriors in their first ever IHSA play-off football game, taking home a tough loss, but a win in terms of school pride.
Most high school football games aren’t played on Sat. We seem to reserve that day for college football games. Similarly, since Metea sanctioned its first football team in 2009, the IHSA high school play-offs have been reserved for, well, not Metea.
That all changed on Oct. 25, following a loss to the Neuqua Valley Wildcats, when news spread like wildfire that the Mustangs would make their first play-off appearance.
“It was something I’ll never forget. That moment alone… was worth all the hard work,” junior quarterback Conner Lovely said.
Despite a heartbreaking loss in which Waubonsie took the final lead of the game with two minutes and fifty-eight seconds left to go, the team was undoubtedly able to consider this season a huge win for the program, and also for school pride.
“This is a huge step for the us, just being here. The ending was sad, but it showed everyone just how good we are,” junior linebacker Grady Raines said.
It definitely wasn’t warm at kickoff the day of the game, but despite that, fans were showing up an hour to an hour and a half early. The student section was overflowing with black and gold, and so was the rest of the visiting side’s bleachers for that matter. In fact, Waubsonsie staff had to bring in three sets of portable bleachers. After the first day of ticket sales during school hours, only approximately twenty tickets remained unsold.
What does all this mean? It means that this is huge for the school environment. This doesn’t look like it’s going to be something that just blows over and we forget about it by next year. The team fought incredibly hard all season long, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed in the halls.
“To get all these fans to come out and cheer for you, they have to like you, and man, they do love them,” head coach Ben Kleinhans said. That was never more evident than when Bryson Oliver, after being forced to leave the game with an ankle injury, jogged back onto the field to the sound of his name being chanted from the bleachers. The school as a whole has seemed to rally around the progress made this season, despite an early exit in such a tight game.
By Turner Smith