by Larry Ham
But despite the loss, and despite a 3-7 record in 2012, the difference in the end of season attitude between this season and last season is immense.
Last year’s team lost their final seven games and didn’t seem to care much. Coach Randy Whited was so disgusted with their attitude, he canceled the team banquet. This year’s team started slowly, played well in the middle of the season, and ended with two straight losses, but never quit trying and improved greatly as the season progressed.
Fairly or not, football teams are often times defined by their quarterbacks. Reedley College has had some great ones in my time as their radio/internet announcer. The Jeremy Harmon Tigers of 2000-2001. The Robert Johnson Tigers of 2002-2003. The Terry Mayo Tigers of 2004-2005. These teams were defined by the play of these guys, and that’s why the 2012-2013 Tigers will be defined by Sean Stell Junior.
The improvement of Stell from week two, when he got a chance to play, all the way through game ten was the most memorable part of this past season. He went from a player unsure of his abilities and prone to silly mistakes, to a confident leader who brought his team within seconds of a post season bowl game. I will say this with total confidence: If we went back to the beginning of the season and replayed the games with the current Sean Stell Junior offense, the Tigers would probably win eight games. At least.
So, we now look forward to next season, when the Tigers will bring back almost an entire squad on both sides of the ball. It should be fun. It should be impressive. And as Sean Stell said when I chatted with him briefly after Saturday’s game “I can’t wait ’til next season.”