After heart-breaking loss, Panthers working toward 2011 championship
LHHS Coach Heath Hohmann consoles Senior Will Weirich. (Photo by Allison Weirich, ABarW.com)
(Posted: Nov. 20, 2010)
Although it was heart-breaking for players, Liberty Hill Head Football Coach Jerry Vance says the Panthers’ loss Nov. 12 simply ended the dream of a third State Championship -- this year.
“I told the kids the sun is coming up on Saturday morning, their mommas are still going to love them and so am I,” Vance said. “This is just a silly little game that kids play, and they have to put it all in perspective.”
But after working so hard for so long to earn another shot at the championship title, Vance admits that a one-point loss (21-20) to Geronimo Navarro was a little hard to take -- especially for seniors.
“They (seniors) have been playing for six years, not counting the pee-wee stuff, and for it all to come to an abrupt end like this...there’s just no second chances,” he said. “So you just hug the seniors and do all you can to help them get situated with what they plan to do (in college), and the rest of us go back to work to try to meet the goal next year.
“Life is about overcoming obstacles and disappointments,” he said. “If we take the time to feel sorry for ourselves, we will never get anything accomplished.”
Vance, the coach with the most wins in Liberty Hill High School history, said he anticipated a close game with Navarro. As former colleagues, he knew Les Goad was very disciplined and knew his athletes would be ready for Liberty Hill.
“I don’t know that anything went wrong,” he said. “But, if we had done perfect all through the game, it wouldn’t have come down to whether we should go for two points or not.”
Vance said it was his decision alone to direct the Panthers to try for the two points in the final seconds of the game.
“It was my decision, and there was no debate or discussion on the sidelines,” he said. “There was never a thought in my head about kicking an extra point to tie the game. Even though it would have meant overtime and all of that. We were there to win, and that’s what needed to happen to win.”
Vance said losing is not supposed to feel good. When talking with the players in the locker room after the game, he said he tried to put the loss in perspective.
“It’s a game and has no bearing on what they will do with their lives. A year from now, they won’t remember the score, but 10 years from now they will remember beating Burnet and winning the District Championship,” he said.
“But if playing football here motivates or inspires even one of them to do something about starving kids in Ethiopia, then it’s been well worth it,” he said. “This is a step to becoming a productive man, to make a difference in community and society. It (the football field) is one of the last places where kids get pushed to that limit. When they play X-Box and get beat, they turn it off.”
Vance said off-season training for the Panthers began this week. Always planning for the future, he said coaching staff does not take a break.
“We look for ways to improve our speed, size and strength, and bulk. We try and train players to be healthy and have pride in what they do. If they have pride, it should hurt when they get beat,” he said.
And so, it begins again....