Coach Buddy Hayford told me after the game that there was always an expectation that his boys would lose a game, after all, these are teenagers and they’re allowed a bad day. But when would that day come? That’s the stress that a perfect season causes, the expectation of a letdown. So as the playoffs neared that anxiety was evident in everyone who attended the final games. Would that bubble burst in the regular season? The semifinals? The quarterfinals? Or, be it forbidden, the finals?
Anyone will tell you, from their classmates with #WinValley signs, to the parents, and the one kid who made the great decision to wear the Wildcat mascot outfit, perfection comes with the price of expectation. The last time I saw a perfect season go up in flames in the last possible game, I ended up consoling a room full of shell-shocked college buddies from Boston (too soon, Pats fans?).
But this was a team of destiny. From the moment they walked off the field in South Royalton last year, this team’s seniors were focused. Basketball came and went, baseball, track, snowboarding, golf, the whole lot. And then came that first team meeting, practice, and game. It was evident, there was no stopping this team’s chemistry
Twin Valley set the pace early in their matchups, a trait that allowed them to deflate their opposition who were forced to play catch-up. While it took 48 minutes for the ‘Cats to score in their first matchup, in approximately half of Twin Valley’s games they came away with a score within the first five minutes.
There were many heroes this season on Twin Valley’s roster. Guys who stepped up and made the connections, the right kick at the right time, and made the team stronger. Some started strong, others bloomed late.
You could tell those special moments of celebration directly after Twin Valley’s fans counted down the last 10 seconds were a relief for players and fans alike. There were looks of disbelief, tears from players, parents, and siblings, and a loud, elated celebration back home.
It was a good day for all of those who had stood in the sun and the cold, or sat on the hill behind the high school to witness history. That sentiment was never more evident than Saturday night when Main Street was lined with adoring parents and classmates, all wanting to be a part of that special moment when their boys in red and white raised one finger to signify, they conquered their destiny.