Article and Photography by ALICE MARY HERDEN
“When it rains, it pours, when it pours, you score,” Fox Chapel’s eighth-grader Mike Lee said.
Even though the Tigers never scored a touchdown, they kept the Eagles from crossing over into their endzone beyond half-time, ending the game at 14-0 on Oct. 8, 2019.
“I was proud of Fox Chapel because, in the past, we would score forty-some points,” coach Genard Hudson said. “They showed a lot of improvement and gave us a challenge.”
Last year David Schlechter was asked to step in and coach Fox Chapel football team. He knew it would be a challenge entering into unfamiliar territory and starting his first season with 21 players.
“We haven’t won (yet), but looking at them after the game, you wouldn’t tell that we were a losing team. They (players) really have a lot of confidence, a lot of self-discipline and they’re proud of themselves, and I think that’s the whole point, right there,” said coach Schlechter.
Coach Schlechter and his coaching staff must be doing all the right things. Starting the Tigers 2019 season with 50 players on their roster, including seventh-grader starter Goldie Summer their team is building on that confidence and self-discipline.
The past sixteen years, Genard Hudson coached football for West Hernando Middle School. He continues to instill in the players, not only the fundamentals of football but the need to have more dedication. Often the dedication players show on the field gives Hudson inspiration and reassurance of why he coaches.
“The young man (Christian Browning) that got swung out of bounds, the resilience that he showed to come back and continue to lead his team blew me away,” coach Hudson said.
Coach Hudson continued...“You can teach them so much, but (you have to) continue to encourage them and push forward because there are going to be times when it’s going to be difficult. You have to prepare yourself to be ready for it.”
Having these young kids on the field, doing the best they can, in turn, makes coaches better coaches, it’s like watching them grow from the sidelines.
“We are teaching the foundation of football, but I am teaching them how football can make better young men in life. That’s my overall goal: preparing them for life,” coach Hudson said. “Helping them prepare for life is our major goal.”
“What makes me a better coach is to teach them the very basics, how to be prepared,” coach Schlechter said. “By the middle of the week, they are out there doing their own thing. It’s like releasing them into their independence.”
Regardless of how many losses any team endures, it is essential for the growth of these young players to have that connection as a team, to be a part of a team.
“Learning what to say to them to make sure their confidence is higher and when you have a losing team, the challenge is what to say to these kids to make sure their confidence isn’t shaken,” coach Schlechter said.
“One of the things that I always tell them is when you’re on the field we speak positively, we never speak down to each other, and we always build each other up, and that becomes contagious,’ coach Schlechter said. “Because of that, we have an environment where our players feel good about themselves, and they really do believe we are family. That’s all that matters. I would not coach anywhere else except here because of that.”
Challenger vs Explorer @ Springstead
Winding Waters vs Powell @ Nature Coast Tech
Parrot vs Fox Chapel @ Hernando High
West Hernando Bye Week
Challenger vs Fox Chapel @ Springstead
Explorer vs West Hernando @ Central High
Winding Waters Bye Week
Parrott vs Powell @ Hernando High
West Hernando vs Winding Waters @ Central
Powell vs Fox Chapel @ Nature Coast Tech
Explorer vs Parrott @ Springstead
Challenger Bye Week
10/14/19: Coach Hudson's name corrected