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Football team strives towards success

Students and coaches embrace community and support

Frances Kleinsmith Staff Reporter
Originally published October 25th, 2019

The Beavers run onto the field for their first game against Juanita High School. They won 42-7. The team continues to win their games with a current 7-0 record. (Skye McDonald)

The Beavers run onto the field for their first game against Juanita High School. They won 42-7. The team continues to win their games with a current 7-0 record. (Skye McDonald)

Head football coach, Ross Humphries, started working at Ballard in 2016 and had 46 players playing in the first season. Since then, the program has expanded by almost double the players with 91 in the 2019 season.

“In my interview [in 2016] I said my goal was to have 100 players in the program and they kind of laughed at me,” Humphries said. “This is by far the biggest team Ballard has ever had.”

Not only has the population grown, but so has the dynamic and the program as a whole.

The team is based on the core “CCCC” acronym, which means commitment, cooperation, conduct and compete. These are the main components that make up the team and keep everyone held accountable.

“We want to make sure that everything we’re doing with our players, everything we’re doing as coaches, that we’re attacking at least one of those core values,” Humphries said. “We’re all under construction, we’re all working towards that, and we’re not perfect with that every time [but] it’s intertwined in everything we do.”

There were three values that Humphries said he wanted to aspire and work towards as a coach; supporting players with academic development, emotional development, and physical development that enhance relationships. These values are reflected on the field, but most importantly, onto the players.

“We knew that if we could help them in those areas of their life, football would be easy. If you’re just winning at stuff, you’re winning at everything you do,” Humphries said.

Humphries mentioned examples of things the team does as a way to build relationships and develop community within the program. These were things like 30-second conversations (in passing, making sure to have coach-player and player-player conversations) and free writes (where every player has a composition notebook and they get to write their feelings based on a given prompt). The goal is to enrich the players’ mental health while boosting a strong and reliable community.

The coaches conduct a discussion called mindset curriculum that takes place before the games.

“We have installed schedules of how we install our offense and defensive schemes. We also have one that’s with the subjects we talk about with the mindset we want our players to adapt and have,” Humphries said. “For example, one day a talk would be about mental toughness and the next day it’s talking about relationships. We’re intentional about how we’re going to teach the mindset side of being a better person.”

In relation to the players mental health growth and their strong community outreach, the team has started a new program called ‘a person of impact’. The seniors on the team write down people in the community who have impacted them in a positive way. They then present those people at team dinners to overall honor the impacts those individuals have made on the player, and ultimately gives the players an opportunity to show and give gratitude for somebody who’s helped them.

In spite of the football team’s successful 7-0 winning streak this season so far, success in the players eyes is measured in the community and the benefits they gain from it.

Senior football player, Dajean Wells, has learned many life values from football from his four years on the team.

“I have noticed in life you cannot get the goals you want without having those key values,” said Wells.

Fellow teammate and four-year senior football player, Cooper Croy, has also been greatly impacted by the program.

“Ballard football has changed me into the best person I can be,” Croy said. “Every time I do something, I think about all the core values of the program. We just work on being better every day.”

Wells and Croy both agree that the most important aspect of football to them is “the brotherhood” and the community that the program has enriched them with.

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Football team strives towards success