By Spencer Bodow
Some things just aren’t meant to last: watermelon, a clean room, good weather, or a weekend to name a few. But more importantly, the five seniors from the Tempe Prep football team saw an end come to their high school football careers. On Nov. 1, Darrell Bailey, Noah Teters, John Patterson, George Michael Sarsar, and Nolan Nicholson played their final season game. And although they did not go out on top, they were able to appreciate everything this program has taught them.
Three out of those five came into freshman year and were met by a hard hitting football team led by Joe Swingle, Herman Flores, and Micah Brittain. It was coach Josh Brittain’s first year leading the team and they finished with an exciting 8-2 record. Then, those freshmen became sophomores and played a large supporting role in the team’s successful year and playoff upset over Gilbert Christian. After making the playoffs two years in a row, they were used to the success and winning ways of the team.
Thus, their next year did not exactly reach expectations when things slowed down. With a big change in the coaching staff and a downsize in the number of players, the four juniors, at the time, were faced with a new challenge. Games seemed harder as they were thrust into a leading role due to a lack of seniors. Still, like any good football player, they took the challenge and hit back. Winning a few key games, they put up a respectable season in some unfortunate circumstances.
Finally, their senior season came, and they were left to lead their team while pursuing every last bit of high school football they could. There is a certain amount of joy and excitement that comes with high school football unprecedented in any other sport. The seniors were able to savor that feeling even with a senior season that didn’t look great on paper.
George Michael Sarsar commented on his final season saying, “This was my favorite season because it was my last time playing with my bros.” The brotherhood that is formed when colliding with an opponent to help your team is a strong one. And after four years of doing it over and over, there is a connection among this year’s seniors that made people pay attention.
Together, these boys have faced adversities in each game and fought hard to win. They have taken on challenges each and every season. Their careers are to be admired and will set a standard of team chemistry and adversity for years to come. It is with heavy hearts that these seniors depart their football team they poured everything into.
Junior Hayden Sampson appreciates everything they have done, saying, “To have a group of guys like them leading the team the way they do means a lot.” As seniors, they are required to lead by example and leave the team with a sense of direction even when they are gone. They have absolutely put together a foundation for many more Tempe Prep football teams, that may not see their footprints, but will be glad they were there.
Article by Spencer Bodow, student staff writer for De Equitibus, Tempe Preparatory Academy’s student newspaper.
About Tempe Prep: Tempe Preparatory Academy is a tuition-free public charter school in Tempe for students in grades 6-12 that provides a nationally acclaimed liberal arts education based on the Great Books of Western Civilization with an exceptional math, science, foreign language, humanities, and fine arts curriculum. Tempe Prep has been recognized by the Arizona Board of Regents as having the highest percentage of college graduates in the state and has been named the #1 high school in Arizona by Newsweek (America’s Top High Schools 2016). For more information about enrolling at Tempe Prep, visit the school’s website at tempeprep.org.