Applemen Football Season Comes to an End

Troy Woolaston, Sports Journalist

The Musselman football team flipped things around this year. Last year the team had its only season not going over .500 (having at least a 5-5 record) since Coach Thomas has been the head coach.

At the start of the pre-season last December, Coach Thomas met with his players and told them that they were going to work their butts off to make sure that didn’t happen again. And it didn’t.

This year the team brought their record around from 3-7 last year to 7-3 this year. That record got them in as the 8th seed in the state football playoffs where they were able to have a home playoff game versus one of their only losses this year: Wheeling Park.

Wheeling Park

Going into this game the Applemen were doubted heavily after losing to them in the regular season 34-7, but the Applemen, like they have done all season, never listened to what anyone had to say about them.

At the beginning of the week Coach Thomas said to his players these four words, “We’re going to win.” All week the players practiced like they never had before. The way the team felt after losing to them in the regular season stayed in their head all week and lit a fire that Wheeling Park wasn’t ready for.

Because of a weather problem the game was moved from Friday to Thursday. Everyone was asking how this is going to affect the game and are you guys going to be ok. At the end of practice Coach had this to say about it,“I don’t care when we play, we could play Tuesday, we can play Wednesday, or we could play tonight. I’m just ready to play”, and the applemen were ready.

The stands were packed full of Musselman and Wheeling Park fans. It was an incredible atmosphere. The whole game was very back and forth and no team ever led by more than two touchdowns.

After a long hard fought drive the Applemen were able to get the Trojans to a 4th and 10, and after an incomplete pass the Appleman were able to take over and hold the ball and win the game 28-23 and move to the second round of the playoffs.

Parkersburg South

After the huge win against Wheeling Park, the Applemen had a bunch of momentum going into the second round and they were going to need it because their opponent was the number one ranked team in the state, Parkersburg South.

At the beginning of the week everyone was asking Coach Thomas how big this game would be and he said, “It’s just another game.” All week at practice it was freezing cold and it getting darker earlier which made it even colder, but the players never let that get to them and practiced hard because they knew that if they didn’t win that the season would be over.

When Friday had finally come, it was game day. All the players and coaches were ready to go. Having to take the four hour bus ride just two weeks before to play Parkersburg, they already knew what it felt like. When they got to the school it was freezing cold outside and it was even snowing, but the players showed that they didn’t care how cold it was and they showed that with mostly everyone taking their shirt off and running around and throwing snow on each other.

Before the team went out to play, Coach Thomas told the players this, “All the time I hear all these stories of the Musselman football team back in the day and all these great players that remember everything that happened when they played. You have an opportunity to make your own story and be remembered forever.”

The Patriots started off with the ball and would score on their first possession of the game, the Musselman were unable to score on their first possession and the Patriots would go on to score their

second touchdown on their second drive of the game. On Musselman’s second drive they were unable to score again and the Patriots would retake position of the ball. On the Patriots’ third drive they were able to score another touchdown putting them up 21-0 early in the first quarter.

Musselman was able to score on a touchdown pass from Hartman to Miller to make the score 28-7. On the Patriots’ last position before half, they were held to a fourth down and kicked a field goal to make the score 48-7 going into the half. They played their hearts out the second half doing everything they could to try and get back in the game. But unfortunately they never could. After a late fourth quarter touchdown by Alex Scaggs they were able to make the final score 58-14.

Losing this bad to end the season was very hard for a lot of the players and many of them got emotional after the game. Even though they did not end the season how they wanted this was still an amazing team ending the season 8-4, battling adversity in multiple games and never giving up.