Eight wins and one loss etched the Nobles 2018 football season into the history books. With a close knit team and new coaching, this year’s football team broke from a series of weak seasons dating back to 2007. The strong season placed Nobles football in the bowl game where kicker Jack Schwartz pulled out a last-second victory by kicking a 25-yard field goal to win 17-14.
Team Captain Will Welch (Class I) believes one of the reasons the team was successful this year was the culture. “The team this year was more invested in each other and really bought into the culture. We forced each other to take advantage of every second we had on the practice field,” Welch said. Similarly, Head Coach Panos Voulgaris believes that the team fabric was what gave it its success. “The strength of our team this year was how the team played together and kept a relative calm during the tense moments in games. Our team maintained their confidence and belief in each other at every turn of the season,” Voulgaris said.
Two major victories for the football team were on Milton day and the Bowl game where the team distinguished itself from past years. Welch was asked about what it was like winning these two major games. “Honestly, [it was] one of the best feelings I have ever had. We knew that both games would be battles, and all week long leading up to each game, we had pictured how good it would feel running on the field, celebrating a victory. I know I will remember those games my whole life,” Welch said.
As to whether the team will continue to win in coming seasons, Team Manager Cyan Jean (Class I) said, “I believe that if the guys have the same ambition and heart, they will [continue to win].” Furthermore, Jean added that the changes to the coaching staff were important factors in the team’s success. “I think that being in a program under a somewhat new coaching staff definitely encouraged the guys to show the new coaches that they are really passionate about the sport and their ultimate goals,” Jean said. “This year, there were more coaches that were part of the staff so they were able to put their focus to specific groups and make sure that they perfected specific plays and strategies.”
Welch and Voulgaris both commented on the importance of the team’s depth in light of having a small roster. “One of the great things about our team is that all thirty-two players had an important role. It takes every member of the team to do a job on Monday through Friday. Each player had a significant role in helping the team get ready for Saturdays – the team's success was reflective of the collective effort of all the players and assistant coaches,” Voulgaris said. Along those lines, Welch noted that the team’s small roster gave each player added importance on the team. “The team had a relatively small roster of about 30 kids, which was working against us. For scale, most MIAA teams can have up to 85 kids on the roster. That being said, every kid bought into the process and contributed,” Welch said.
Altogether, the success of this past season resulted in confidence in a successful future for Nobles football. “My hope is that we will continue the positive momentum and continue to play together,” Voulgaris said. “These guys definitely changed the history of Nobles Football,” Jean added. And after leading the team in victory, Welch stated, “Nobles football is here to stay. This is the beginning of an ISL powerhouse.”
By Max Von Schroeter, Copy Editor, December 2018