Coach Brian Gibson preparing the Eagles for playoff competition
Photo by Lisa Morton
By Brian Gibson,
CCAISD Athletic Director
The 2016 football season started at midnight on August 1st. Beginning the season, this team had several goals in mind and after ten straight games including two scrimmages, they have a chance to achieve one of their goals on Friday night in Stanton, Texas at 7:30 pm against the Miles Bulldogs. Our Van Horn Eagles knew after Week 8 when they beat Irion County they would have a spot in the Texas High School Playoffs. After splitting the last two games of the season including an impressive 56 – 40 win over the Wink Wildcats, the Eagles secured the #2 seed in the UIL playoff bracket of Region II Class 2A Division II. The Eagles will match up with a formidable opponent in the Miles Bulldogs, who are from the San Angelo area. The Eagles will look to continue their soaring ways offensively and exploit the Bulldog defense with their speed and quickness. The Bulldog offense will present a new challenge to the Eagle defense as they run a version of the Wing T offense that we have not seen this year. The Eagles are very excited about the opportunity to represent their community, school, and family in the playoffs. They have a golden opportunity in front of them but need as much support as they can to help them cherish the playoff experience. We hope to see as much RED and GREY in the home stands as possible to help these young men win a Bi – District trophy for the second year in a row.
A little message to the Van Horn Eagles as they make their final preparations, please keep in mind what it means to be EAGLES.
EXECUTION: We must pay close attention to the details and focus on the little things that will make us a champion. It’s not one thing we do 100% better than anyone else, but 100 things we do 1% better than everyone else. Practice being perfect, practice being the best, and practice being a champion. “You can’t make a great play unless you do it first in practice.” (Chuck Noll, legendary coach of the Pittsburg Steelers)
ATTITUDE: Believe in yourself. Believe in your teammates. Always know that you are representing the greater whole – THE TEAM and this community and school. Always expect nothing but the best from yourself and your teammates. Show class, have pride, and display character. If you do, winning takes care of itself. Paul Bear Bryant once stated that It’s not the glitz of the uniform that matters, but the spirit that shines within it. He also said The ones who want to achieve and win championships motivate themselves. Lou Holtz, legendary coach for Notre Dame, said it probably the best: Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
GREATNESS: Be Great!! ADVERSITY IS THE SEED OF GREATNESS. Everyone has to overcome adversity at some point. Martin Luther King, Jr: The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Williams Arthur Ward: Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records. It’s not the adversity that destroys great things; it’s how you handle the adversity that destroys or creates great things. Welcome adversity as another challenge, another hurdle, and be tenacious and persistent enough to overcome and BE GREAT!!
LEADERSHIP: Believe and trust in those that lead you. That means your coaches, your parents, teachers, and friends. Choose your leadership wisely and then try to be a leader yourself. Vince Lombardi: The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders. Once you have become that leader, do as John Wooden stated: Make sure that team members know they are working with you, not for you.
EXCELLENCE: Demand nothing less than excellence, from yourself, from your teammates, and from your coaches. The pursuit of excellence in everything is the true key to success. Be relentless and passionate about the things that you love, and develop that passion for the things you do not love. Excellence is an “all the time” thing, not a part time. Being a CHAMPION is an “all the time” thing. Again, quoting Vince Lombardi: The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.
SACRIFICE: Football is a lot like life, you must make tremendous sacrifices to achieve your goals. There are times when you body will tell you it cannot go any further, but your mind finds the will to do so. There are times when your attitude and work ethic are lacking, but the sacrifice must be made to achieve success. You have already paid many sacrifices: sweat, blood, tears, time, and energy. As Charles Haley once said: If you sacrifice early, you’ll win late. The time is now to reap the rewards of those sacrifices. A great football legend, Gale Sayers said: I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it. Some more sacrifice quotes: If you are going to be a champion, you must be willing to pay a greater price (Bud Wilkinson, former head coach of the Minnesota Vikings). Quoting Vince Lombardi once again: The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.
The bi-district playoff game tomorrow against the Miles Bulldogs begins at 7:30 p.m. here in Van Horn.