OSAWATOMIE — There are several ways to evaluate the success of a season. Many people look at wins and losses as the measuring stick. However, the best barometer is in the effort and character in which the team approaches the game.
Such was the insight from Osawatomie football coach Ron Madden after the Trojans football season a year ago.
Anyone can show up to practice and work hard when the team is winning, Madden said at the team banquet. What is hard to do, he said, is put that effort in week in and week out when the team is losing. That is the definition of character.
“It is not just that these boys worked so hard,” said Madden, who is entering his 27th season. “These boys worked harder. When time rolled around to get ready for the next week’s game, they would listen to what I thought we needed to do to win the game and bought into that. And we lost, but they kept trusting in what we were doing.
“You have two choices,” he said. “You can get knocked down and feel sorry for yourself, or you can get back up and get after it one more time. We are a family and we kept pulling together as a family.”
After their regular two-plus hours on their practice field affectionately named the “Pit,” the Osawatomie football players are greeted by the hill. It is not such a bad walk down to the field, but after running and working out with pads for two hours, the walk back up the hill is brutal.
The hike is 272 steps of pure determination and grit from the football practice field to the parking lot.
Osawatomie cross country runners opened practice warming up with exercises including jumps and leg stretches. They did short runs and then hit the pavement to put in a few miles.
Senior wide receiver Daulton Davis was on the sideline playing catch with senior quarterback Boyd Cole as the Osawatomie Trojans broke into 7-on-7 drills to work on coverage recognition, responsibilities and offensive and defensive positioning.
“Defensive backs, you have to move and get more depth,” coach Ron Madden directed at practice Wednesday, Aug. 21. “Don’t be standing there like a fence post. If you do that, you cannot react. You have to be moving and set your depth, then you can read the quarterback and react.”
Junior defensive back Beau Beers read a play out to the flat, jumped the route and picked off a pass for the interception.
Other seniors back for the Trojans include wideout Bailey Cornelison, running back Braden Bradshaw, defensive back Malik Schultz, tight end Ethan Wallace, lineman Colby Jones, lineman Jason Smith, lineman Josh McBride, lineman Brandon Armstrong and wideout Caden Maule. Junior Toby Wilson was a letter-winner on the line.
Newcomers to watch out for are: receiver Thaid Timbin, defensive back Cody Sloan and running back Jay Filipin.
The team goals are to get better every day, every week and every game and compete to win games in the Pioneer League and advance in the playoffs.
The keys to that success are being in shape, knowing assignments and playing hard and tough, Madden said.