With a hugely successful season coming to an end, the Wolverine football team has one more reason to celebrate: they were named October Team of the Month by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. With no losses in the month of October (including three shut outs), 161 points scored and only 15 points allowed, the team first place in the 2B league for the first time in 10 years.
Head Coach Brock Hauck said the team was really excited to hear about their nomination.
“They were pretty pumped up,” said Hauck. “I told them that nobody can take this away from them, they earned it and it will be part of the program forever now. It’s much appreciated.”
The WIAA takes into consideration not only the team’s success on the field but academics and community involvement as well. This year many team members volunteered their time to help raise money for their school during the Phone-A-Thon.
“These kids had school all day, they practiced hard and they still gave time to help at the Phone-A-Thon,” said Hauck.
Players have also given their time to a community member’s in the offseason, helping with fundraisers or things like moving furniture and stacking wood.
The players’ year-round commitment to the football program is one thing Hauck credits their success to.
“When the season ends, I give them a week off but then they’re back in the weight room, lifting, working on speed and agility,” said Hauck. “These kids work 12 months a year which is why the program is where it is now.”
On the field, the team works together as a cohesive unit but off the field, they are supportive of each other as well, such as during week seven when Junior Kaden Ritchie was named Athlete of the Week by the WIAA. The middle linebacker started his Friday Harbor football career in fifth-grade on the Tiger Football Team and was instrumental in week seven’s shut out game against LaConner which Friday Harbor won 30–0. In that game, Ritchie had four touchdowns, eight tackles and rushed for 215 yards.
“The guys thought it was great, they were excited for him,” said Hauck “but excited for the team as well because of that award. Ritchie can’t have that kind of game if all ten guys in front of him aren’t doing their jobs, so it was for the team as well.”
Ritchie’s mom, Erika Christensen, says that her son’s involvement in Friday Harbor’s football program has been extremely positive. “The positive effect of football and Kaden’s football family in his life is unmeasurable,” said Christensen “The wholehearted friendships and support carried him throughout the year. He has his best friends on the field with him and the power in that is obvious.”
The Wolverines beat LaConner, 55–6 ,in their last regular-season game on Nov. 8 and are now looking forward to playoffs.
“They’re excited, they worked hard to earn the right to represent the Wolverines in the state playoff game,” said Hauck. “Our focus is the same as every game — we need to execute for all 48 minutes and the scoreboard will take care of itself.”
The Wolverines will face off against Lake Roosevelt High School on Saturday, Nov. 16 in the first round of playoffs.
“I’ve said it a lot of times but this team, they’re just an outstanding group of young men,” said Hauck. “Our motto is ‘Perfect effort, Perfect attitude’ and they’ve bought into that. We try to get better every day and it shows on the field.”