Winter arrived. The forecast for the 5:00 game in Southland looked bleak. But as with most weather forecasts, this one turned out to be incorrect. I arrived in Southland to the sun shining and the wind finally settling down. Don’t get me wrong, it was still cold, but a slight breeze is better than a biting 25mph cut-right-through-you wind any day!
I found Coach Zach Morris of the Aspermont Hornets mid-field. Both teams were busy warming up. Getting to optimum warm-up levels would take a while. We talked about the Hornets chances against Morton. Coach Morris had already noticed how athletic the Indians appeared during warm-up, but thought they would match up really well. Discussion turned to the race in Division II, District 10. His squad faces a Lueders-Avoca team that has an outstanding freshman player the Hornets will need to contain. A playoff spot is on the table. Coach Morris ended by telling me Aspermont will move up to 1A Division I for next year’s football season. I wished him luck as the Hornets headed to the dressing room to pad up.
Coach Shean Abston, Morton Indians coach, was elusive before the game. Fully dressed Morton spent the warm-up time prior to the game getting in all the reps they could and never left the field. I did catch him at the side door to the concession stand after the game. He was waiting on food and drinks to take to his players. Because Morton is one of the few teams who have chosen and been approved to go from 11-man to Sixman in the same season, everyone wants to ask how they are adjusting. Abston smiled at that question and said the players really liked playing sixman. There were things that they had to really adjust to… like the Quarterback not having the ability to run the ball. He said they were getting there and enjoying the process. I asked him what the players thought about all the running. He laughed and said that he knew they would be way down in numbers and would go to Sixman at some point. He started the first day of two-a-days with lots of running. His mindset was that he would train them like sixman football players. Because of that foresight, the players were in great shape and the pace of the game was not a factor.
One of the players at halftime was excited that they were playing a good Aspermont Hornet team but were competing well. As we walked to the gym to deliver the drinks and food, Coach Abston also told me he really has enjoyed the community of sixman football and how it is a brotherhood. Morton will have at least two more games at the sixman level before the season is finished. I shook his hand and welcomed him to sixman football. Pleasant guy. The Indians will continue to improve.
Let me take a moment to wax eloquent… Coach Abston hit the nail on the head when he said that sixman is a brotherhood. Coaches help out other coaches, fans greet each other cordially, and we all love the Friday night-lights on the 80-yard field. During the games, passion for our team echoes out into the night on every run, every catch, every tackle, every down, every series. Penalties are vehemently denied and shouts are often heard from parents and fans in the stands. After playing their hearts out, players pray together, extend their hands for a shake or fist bump, and coaches hug and pat opposing players on the shoulder pads and really mean it when they speak positive words. I’ve witnessed this over and over and always find myself smiling. It’s that feeling that sticks with you right where it counts. There really is nothing like sixman football, but more importantly, there are no greater people than those within the sixman community. Brotherhood. I think yes.
As always sixman peeps, Go forward and do GOOD!