Bear Football: reflections from Coach Toby Wade
Hello! My original intention was to send this out as an email to our football guys and their parents. First, I got delayed in doing so while playing catchup after our blessed extended season. Then as I thought about what I wanted to say, I realized that this is really bigger than just that group, even though I do and will recognize my appreciation for their above and beyond efforts.
Most of you know that last year was our first in six-man football, and we had an amazing first year, advancing to the semifinals. It was a season that will always be very special to me. Not to downplay at all what we accomplished last year, but wow, this year was something else. We advanced a round further than last year, getting to the state championship game, but the grind and sense of accomplishment I think we as a staff and team felt this year was so much greater. Recall that last year’s season was shortened due to Covid, we had a first round bye in the playoffs, and then won the second game by forfeit because our opponent dealt with Covid issues.
Bear Football: 17 Weeks
This year, we completed a full season. Counting scrimmages and factoring our open week, our season lasted 17 weeks. I remember very early in the season, Coach Chacon and I sat down together for lunch, and I verbalized to him that I felt that we were good enough this year to run the table. He did not disagree. We ended up the season with a 10-4 record. I am not sure that any SMA football team has won ten games in a season. Put that record into perspective:
- Loss one came to St. Stephens. They ended up finishing the season undefeated and state champions in their division.
- Loss two came to a really good, senior-heavy Marble Falls Faith team that remained undefeated all the way up until their nail-biter state championship game.
- Loss three to Veritas, whose only loss UNTIL WE GOT PAYBACK was to Marble Falls Faith.
- Loss four to undefeated Emery Weiner.
Process that for a bit to really appreciate what a strong season these young men had this year! Another thing that made this season feel a lot different was that we played four playoff games. Although some of the scores didn’t reflect it, I can tell you from a coaching standpoint, and I think most of you that were at the games will agree, those playoff games were really all battles, nothing was easy. We played some good teams and had to work for our three wins.
Bear Football: Sincere Thanks
I feel certain that I will leave out someone or something, and apologies in advance for the inevitable, but here I go.
First, to all of our fans. The love you’ve shown for our guys has been incredible. It was fantastic all year; SMA truly is a family, and it showed at every game. I will, as a San Marcos High School grad, always, for the rest of my life, remember the goosebumps I got when I walked onto Rattler Field for the Veritas game. Those goosebumps just increased hearing the NOISE from our fans. Our boys felt it and were incredibly motivated by the support, and the result was a great win over a really good opponent. I haven’t ever been part of a game that loud. But really, the support we felt all year, home and away, was amazing. Always present, always cheering, putting on our pep rallies, constantly doing nice things for our guys, and just generally keeping everyone upbeat and hyped, the cheerleaders (or Rah Rah’s, per Coach Nash) were so appreciated! And how cool was it, after a semester of really bad luck and misfortune for the band, to have them somehow get together a pep band for the championship game, and in a short time period, to sound so good!
While obviously, parents of our players are part of the fan group, I’d like to additionally thank them for all of the above and beyond things they did for players and coaches all year. For all the snacks, drinks and sandwiches provided for us. For the dinners you provided for us every Thursday prior to home games. For decorating the locker room, and covering the hallway with hundreds of photos. For the financial donations for charter buses and meals on the road. And for real, from my heart, for allowing us to be such a big part of your boys’ lives. It means the world to me, I am very blessed to be a part of this school and this Athletic program.
To our team managers, for having water for us daily, bringing out dummies, scrimmage vests etc, for loading and unloading the trailer when we went on the road, the late night trips, and for MOSTLY remembering to text me to let me know you made it home safely after the late nights.
To our coaches, thank you! Most of you cannot even begin to imagine the amount of time that Coach Chacon puts into watching film, finding the right matchups, and putting together game plans. He is incredibly dedicated to our boys and to our program, and I feel very blessed to have him as our head coach. To the guys who volunteered their time, Coach Crauthers, Coach Miller, Coach Contreras, Coach Elliott, Coach Goodwin. These guys give their time very generously because they love our guys and love football. And a huge thank you to Coach Les Davis, who has been a mentor to me and is a blessing to our program.
To our guys, wow, it’s been a long ride! It seems like yesterday that we had our little hamburger dinner at the pool. I hope you have all enjoyed this season as much as I have. I know a long season takes a physical toll on everyone, but football is such a great sport, you guys have built friendships and memories that’ll last a lifetime. I know both Coach Chacon and I have said this a bunch, but I’ll do it one more time. As proud as I am of the season you had, as an AD and coach and also for very personal reasons, I may be more proud of the legacy you’ve built. My grandson, MJ, has been around you guys since we started summer workouts at the end of May. He and several other of our middle school athletes have watched you guys put in hard work, and have done the same because of the example you’ve set for them. You guys are great role models, I am proud to have had MJ look up to y’all as he does. As much as we as coaches have tried to tell you the influence you have on the young guys, I’m not sure if all of you really had a full understanding until the end of the championship game, when you saw my grandson, Coach Miller’s son, some of the little brothers on the sideline, and Coach Chacon’s son crying after the game. They hurt probably almost as badly as you did, and while that wasn’t easy to watch, it reinforced what I have believed all along, that a culture is being built throughout our program. They look up to y’all a bunch, gentlemen.
Bear Football: We’re a Family
With apologies for rambling, I’d like to wrap up with this thought. I mentioned earlier that SMA is truly a large family. I have been at this school for almost 20 years, and have seen that repeatedly, but probably not ever as much as I did after the state game. I am not sure whose idea it was, Becky Crauthers proposed it to me, but the dinner at the field after the game was incredible. It was so cool to see EVERYONE eating together. It wasn’t just football players and parents, I think it was literally every SMA fan we had at the game. To be very honest, I was a little nervous about the ability to cook for that many people, especially as I realized after the game how big it was really going to be. I have to say though, that it worked, and in hindsight, I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up the day. To see everyone in the extended SMA family enjoying fellowship and great food was beyond what I could have expected. It was a great chance for all of us to decompress, process the game, let the hurt heal a little, and actually leave a tough game in a mostly upbeat state of mind. Thank you so much to everyone who planned that out, bought the food, cooked and served, it was amazing!
I’ll end by saying I hope everyone had a great Christmas Break and is ready to get back into the grind!
By Toby Wade, SMA Athletic Director
Photos by Marcus McDonald and SMA parents