Despite the cold, the wet, the mud and the sting of defeat at their final home game Oct. 17, the seniors of the Troy Trojans football team could not help but look back on their season wistfully.
After all, this was the team that broke the Trojans’ 29-game losing streak. This was the first squad in four years to enjoy victory on the gridiron, no matter the 52-6 drubbing Thompson Falls (6-1) handed them on a night dedicated to the departing seniors.
Head coach Luke Haggerty said this group has been the most enjoyable to lead in his career.
“This team, and especially this group of seniors, have an incredible bond and have been a pleasure to coach,” he said.
Wide receiver and defensive back Ricky Starks said the connection between his teammates transcended the scoreboard.
“We weren’t the best at winning games, but, boy, did we have fun.” Starks said. “I hope the next generations have as much fun as I did.”
Dylan Peterson, a junior, scored the sole touchdown of the night for the Trojans, reeling in a 24-yard pass from senior Terren Winebark.
Winebark was a key player in ending the Trojan’s longstanding losing streak with a win against Victor this season. It was Winebark’s first victory in a Trojans uniform.
The senior said he will cherish “all the memories with my brothers, whether it was bus rides or on the field — we were always bonding and having loads of fun together.”
Haggerty attributed the team’s successes to the attitude the seniors adopted even before the season’s start.
“The work ethic this team had was outstanding, and that started with the intensity the seniors brought to practice every single day,” he said.
Senior wide receiver and defensive back Braden Lowry looked back on his first — and last — season with fondness. The camaraderie on and off the field was unbeatable, he said.
“Everything we do, we do it together,” Lowry said. “Whether it’s going to volleyball games, driving around town or eating team dinners.”
Duncan Fairbairn, a senior center and defensive lineman, said he will miss the indescribable joy of a play going off without a hitch.
“We may not have always been the best team, but we’ve always been determined,” Fairbairn said. “I wouldn’t trade my team for anyone.”
Haggerty said they will feel the loss of the seniors, but expects the team to be just as competitive next year. He hopes to build upon the 1-6 team.
“We are losing a lot of not only really good players, but really good guys as well,” Haggerty said. “We won’t have as many seniors next year, but the foundation this class left should put us in a position to be more competitive next year.”
Troy heads to Plains (3-4) next for an Oct. 25 matchup.