Dustin Cook English 1101 September 21, 2010

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Banner Sweat was pouring down my face and arms, I’m yelling at the top of my lungs “Come On, Come On!!” Despite my yelling the game was already over and I couldn’t accept it. After I had calmed down I leaned against the field goal post and looked at the field and saw many things. I saw the other team celebrating their victory over us, I saw parents meeting their kids saying its okay, but I also saw how far we had come as a team and as a program. We had lost in the second round of the state playoffs to Ragsdale High School; a team who was undefeated but shouldn’t have been. Though our season came to an abrupt stop there was still a high note for us seniors. We all knew we had done something that no other class at our high school had done before. I remember when I was in 5th grade; it was my first year playing football at Sun Valley. I was on the 5th & 6th grade football team and we were pretty good. I also remember going up to the high school to watch the varsity play on Friday nights. There’s nothing else like Friday night football. I was up at the high school inside the gym looking at all the championship banners from years past and noticed something interesting; there wasn’t any banner for football. There was a weird sick feeling in my stomach for some reason and I could never figure out why until 6th grade came around and there was a new coach at the high school who put an emphasis on everything. For years there was a coach who just didn’t care about the program or anything. He didn’t care whether they won or lost he just wanted to get paid. Well this new coach loved football and the first thing he put into everyone’s mind was “Banner”. This new coach had also coached me in baseball the past year and his son was my age. We were best friends so I got to help him be the ball boy for all of the varsity games. I was always up at the high school after I got

Dustin Cook English 1101 September 21, 2010

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out of class. Being around the football team is what drove my motivation to put up the first banner. I remember standing in the locker room while Coach Stein was making a speech, he said ,” Boys , everyone in the county’s against you, Sun Valley aint supposed to be this good, All the hard work you’ve put in the weight room, the two a day practices have led up to this moment,” he holds up a helmet and points to the logo,” What does it mean to you ? That SV has to mean everything to you, If you don’t understand what it means you don’t deserve to wear it. That is what separates us from everyone else.” It’s Homecoming my senior year. I have a lot of stuff on my mind, I cant stop thinking about the game and how everything is going to go, I was nominated for homecoming king, and I couldn’t get out of my mind how important this game was. I’m so pumped to play because we need to bounce back from some crucial loses that had come in our conference . Nobody had lost hope, there was still a chance to put the banner up. We are playing Parkwood; a team we have a long history with, a team we knew we were better than, and a team who had gotten away with one from last year. This is the turning point for our conference dreams and we are going to make it happen. Here we go , it’s the first drive of the game and all I can think is “give me the ball”. A run play that goes for some yardage and a couple of short passes then we are on the 12 yard line. “Alright Cook this one is yours put it in the end zone.” I respond “ Yes , Sir.” A quick slant and 12 yards later , six points were on the board. Our O-Line is struggling and Ryan, our quarterback, cant stay in the pocket long enough so he scrambles and finds me right on the side line, but I don’t take it out of bounds , I cut back across the field and it’s a footrace to the end zone, I see the only man left was behind me but I wasn’t going to let him catch me. Then I had crossed the goal line , another

Dustin Cook English 1101 September 21, 2010

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touchdown and I was ecstatic! As the game went on I managed to score once again and our team came up big, keeping hope alive for our chances at a banner. Our next home game will be the biggest game of the season. Senior Night of my senior year, I can’t believe its already here. But it is more than that tonight. Its about the conference championship with our other rival school. This school had came from ours . These students had been Sun Valley students but they thought they were better people than us and that we were scum because our school was older . They have never beat us in football and I wasn’t about to let them start tonight. After the pre-game festivities , it was on . My heart is racing because I am ready to do work on this team. It’s a close game, tied 14-14 in the 4th quarter . I fair catch the punt around the 15 yd line. This was our drive to make a statement for ourselves. First play is a run and only gets about a yard. Next play is also a run which manages to pick up a couple but its not enough. Its 3rd down and it’s a pass, a short flare to Jadarius, our running back, and we barely get the first down. Again we have hope. Nothing is going to stop us from that end zone. First down is a successful 4 yard run up the middle. Second down, a pass that is dropped by one of our sophomore receivers but its okay he was going to get that one back . Third down , I’m running a route across the middle and Ryan throws it an instantly thinks its going to get picked off but it didn’t I caught it in traffic managing to get a couple more yards. There’s only about a minute thirty left in the game. Jody, the sophomore who had dropped the ball earlier during the drive was due for a big play, He is a freak of nature when it comes to football so he lines up in the backfield. “Set, Hut!” I run my route to draw the corner away and Jody runs a flat route and gets the ball. There are defensemen

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in front of him but instead of running out of bounds he lowers his shoulder and blows the dude up. He was still going and I was in front of him now, blocking. “Touchdown!!” We took the lead , now we had to put faith into our defense to come up big. The defense holds and we won the game. I am full of emotions and tears are coming down my face. This feeling is unimaginable and I don’t want it to go away. Coaches, players. Cheerleader, and our beloved student section are going crazy. I don’t jump up and down and scream because I am at a loss for words. I simply look to the sky and clap my hands , tears of joy are running down my face. That sick feeling I had in the pit of my stomach was gone. We had done it . No longer will there be a blank wall where the football banner is supposed to be, We are the co-conference champions of the Southern Carolina Conference. Though an outright championship would’ve been better , we were still Champions. No one else in our schools 49 year history had a football team won a conference championship. My senior class had done it. I will always remember this moment because it means more to me than just saying we won. I know all the long practices and weight room sessions had finally paid off. Many other teams had come up short but not this time. We all knew what it meant for Sun Valley High School. We will always be the Spartans of the Class of ‘10; the first but not the last .I feel a sense of accomplishment now there will be a banner up in the gym. But we still have a chance at playoffs. Who wants their season to end just cause they won a conference title anyway? Our sights are now turned to State!

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