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DeKalb

Thrill of victory often short-lived in high school football

After each win, Sycamore goes over to the student section and sings the school’s fight song in front of its rowdy fans.

Spartans coach Joe Ryan got the idea after seeing former Western Sun Conference foe Geneva use the routine a few years ago.

“I thought that was really cool,” he said. “I kind of stole it from them.”

The song – “Hail to the Sycamore Spartans” is on the wall in Sycamore’s gym and in the student handbooks. Ryan said he thinks the tradition he started helps reinforce the song.

Ryan wants his team to enjoy the victories, and Sycamore has piled up a number of them in recent years.

Last week, Sycamore beat Geneseo at home to improve to 4-0 on the season. In fact, every one of the area’s five teams got a win in Week 4. It’s the first time the feat has happened since at least 1996, which is as far as the records on IHSA.org go back.

But for Sycamore, once Monday rolls around, it’s about getting ready for the next opponent. This week, the Spartans head to the Illinois River to face Ottawa.

After any game, win or loss, Hiawatha coach Sean Donnelly tells his players to take it in until the next morning. After a Friday night contest, the Hawks are watching film at 8 a.m. Saturday. Hiawatha gets an extra day to enjoy a Saturday afternoon win, such as this past week’s victory over Westminster Christian, until Monday, when the team watches film after school.

DeKalb sends film to its players via Hudl on Saturdays. Barbs coach Matt Weckler said the players will watch it over the weekend, and wants the previous game to be out of the players’ minds by Saturday night.

“Once that game’s over, the next game’s the most important,” Weckler said.
Sometimes, looking ahead to the next contest is easier said than done. There can be some overconfidence.

“There’s a point where you want confidence and there’s a point where you have too much confidence. And you think you can do no wrong,” Donnelly said. “We’ve had teams here in the past where they get a couple wins and they think they can do whatever they want and not put in a lot of the hard work. It comes back to bite them.”

This year’s Hiawatha squad is 3-1 and has a legitimate shot at being in the playoffs for the first time since 1987. Donnelly said his team hasn’t had much of a problem putting wins behind it.

“They’ve really done a good job of realizing they have only nine weeks to prove how good they are,” he said. “They’ve been very good of making sure they stay focused and on task.”

Although coaches never want to see a team celebrate a victory too long, Ryan said he thinks it’s important to celebrate them, even if it is for a little bit.

“You have to work really hard to win and you need to enjoy them,” Ryan said. “Sometimes it’s easier said than done, and it’s easier said than done for a coach.”

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