Senior leaders bring winner's mentality
By Matt Ward
Losing isn’t a word the 26 seniors on this year’s Fredericksburg High School varsity football team deal with often.
Pee-wee Super Bowl appearances with the Fredericksburg RAMS, two undefeated seasons at Fredericksburg Middle School, strong seasons and a district championship as underclassmen at FHS, these Billie seniors win. A lot.
With a bitter taste in their mouth after losing in the rain at the second round in 2013, the seniors want to make a statement about Fredericksburg football in their final go-round.
“We’re here to win it,” Kyle Grona, senior quarterback and a three-year starter, said.
The attitude of this year’s squad is different, Grona said, with the goal being a Class 4A state championship.
“(The players’ focus is) on the field, off the field, weight room and especially in the classroom,” he said. “Our theme is unfinished business. We should have gone a lot further than we did (last season) and now we’re going to do it.”
Winning in their blood
The expectation of winning and the confidence that comes from that is what helped the Billies pull off a last-second come-from-behind win over Navarro last season.
“For this group of seniors, winning is what they do. They find a way to win,” head coach Lance Moffett said. “Our confidence as a staff in this group couldn’t be higher.”
What makes this year’s senior class special, the head coach noted, was the emotional connection that has developed over the past three high school seasons.
“They have a genuine love and respect for each other,” Moffett said. “They’re not all the same. They don’t run all together on weekends. They’re in different high school ‘cliques,’ but they’re all united in their love for each other and for football.”
“If I put them in the all-purpose room and left them alone for five minutes, they would find a piece of tin-foil, wad it up and be playing football, running routes and throwing passes,” he added.
Their love of the game has extended into the offseason and weight room, which Moffett attributes as part of the reason for Fredericksburg’s recent success.
“There’s not enough time in the athletic period during the school day to be good enough to play at the level we want to play at,” Moffett said. “They’ve committed to morning weights, 7-on-7, lineman challenge, all the extra stuff we’ve asked them to do and this is the year they’ll reap the benefits of it.”
After winning a district title in 2013, repeating as district champs has become more of a baseline goal than the ultimate prize.
“We really need to maintain what we’ve done and improve on last year,” senior linebacker Wyatt Brannan said. “We lost some seniors (from last year), but we’ve got some good guys coming up from JV. We need to take what we’ve got and make it even better.”
Fredericksburg’s explosive spread offense will be led by senior quarterback Grona, who “came into being last year and established himself as a force to be reckoned with,” Moffett said.
Protecting the signal-caller will be “a surprising strength this year,” as FHS returns four offensive linemen — Justin Mohr, Blake Vick, Lance Patteson and Nathan Baca — who all saw significant playing time in 2013
However, the Billies will have a difficult time replacing the rushing combination of Paco Martinez and Joaquin Rivera, who combined for nearly all running back carries in 2013.
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