October 21, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
The Eagles: (left to right) front row: Daniel Reynolds, Nick Parker, Cory Wemple, Matt Kyle. Second row: Paul Gereg, Cole Gamet, Lane Anderson, Rhyan Teafoe, Alex Brighton, Conrad Collins (conditioning coach). Third row: Zach Nelson, Cody Hard, Riley Devins, Chad Cocks, Brody Klemer, Tanner Marlatt, Andy Fink. Standing: Dave Evans (offensive coach), Ryan Schnabl, Nathan Love, Andrew Rose, Jason Gamet, Anthony Peterson, John Devins (head coach). Not pictured are team members Ralph Cahoon, Ryan Nash and Josh Swigert.
Undefeated season with 11 wins, including bone-crushing final game with Hamilton, 58-0
by Donna Love
"Your boys play with heart," Head Football Coach for Florence told Seeley Lake Elementary Head Football Coach John Devins, after being defeated 22 to 8 in a surprise upset by the Eagles on Saturday, October 2.
Devins agrees. This year the Eagles, composed of 13 eighth graders, six seventh graders, and six Condon players, had an 11-0 record. That's remarkable considering they just started playing eleven-man football this year and had only two practices for eleven-man before playing Florence.
This season they also played Lincoln, Philipsburg, Drummond, Charlo and Hamilton. Seeley Lake's A team soundly defeated them all with an average of 42 points per game, giving up an average of only eight points per game.
"Charlo and Florence were by far our hardest games," Devins said. "Charlo was the most physical team we played, the hardest hitting, and Florence the best overall." At the first time out during the first quarter of the Florence game, after Florence scored the first touchdown, Devins said the wide-eyed boys exclaimed, "They're so big!" Devins told them, "They may be big, but you're faster. You can so it." On the next play Florence fumbled. From then on it was Seeley's game. Devins feels it was during that game that they came together as a team. Florence even sported a separate defensive and offensive line, but our boys had to play both.
This is the second year that the team has been under the direction of soft-spoken Devins. Devins played football in high school as a linebacker and guard for three years in New York, making All-State. He feels the key to the Eagles' success was the team's athletic talent and the fact that they get along well and play together as a team. "They like to hit," he said. He knew he had a special team on his hands that he had to challenge by coaching like a high school team, learning new plays every week. He asked Dave Evans to put their plays together.
Quiet, quick thinking Evans became the team's offensive guru. This was his first year to work with the Eagles. "They are a great group of kids who took a complicated offense and ran with it," Evans said. He feels their success comes from the boys' intelligence, saying they know over forty plays and over one hundred formations. "That's why the defense didn't know where the ball's going," he said. He put together the winning plays that brought the turn-around for the Florence game and the Hamilton blowout on October 16. "But then nobody in Western Montana could have beat us today," he said, referring to the Hamilton game.
Hamilton, a Class A school, was supposed to be a tough team to beat with only two loses for the year. "They also sent their heavy team to play us. That means everyone is 125 pounds and over," Devins said of Hamilton. "But they (Seeley Lake) wanted it. They set the goal to be undefeated this year and they put it together." The score for the Hamilton game was 58-0.
Evan's playwriting skills come from his passion for football. He has been playing and following football since he was eight years old. His goal for the team was pretty simple, "play hard and have fun." He said that was easy to do since the team's physical trainer had them in such good shape that all he had to do was tell them what to do.
Inspiring, energetic Conrad Collins served as the team's trainer. The boys dreaded, but loved his weekly "Burn Out Physical Training Days." Collins has worked with the team for five years. He joked that this year's success was due to his "eight count body builders," but he really attributes it to the boys' stamina. "They've got huge hearts," he said, "both physically and mentally. Our boys just don't quit."
Collins knows the value of staying in shape. He was a Navy Seal for twelve years. He was hospitalized for thirteen months, after a fellow trooper accidentally ran into his chute during a training exercise free falling for 250 feet, spending most of that time in rehab. "The other guy was hurt as bad as I was," Collins said. The boys respect him. Devins said he never heard one complaint from any of the boys about their workouts. They always showed up for practice and worked hard. All of the coaches volunteer their time.
The Eagles were lead by quarterback Zach Nelson, a newcomer to the team. His family moved here from Lincoln last summer. When asked how it felt to play against Lincoln, he shrugged and said he didn't mind and with a mischievous grin added, "I just like winning." Devins said Zach is a natural born leader. "In the huddle, after he heard what play was to be made, if there was something special that any of the team had to do he would remind them what they had to do," Devins said.
High scorer for the team was Riley Devins. "Riley is a tremendous talent as a running back," Devins said of his son, "but it takes the whole team playing their position before the running back can do his job." He said that in the Hamilton game, whenever there was a sweep, four other guys were there blocking, clearing the path.
Cody Hard was another good running back. His most spectacular play was a hand off to him against Florence, which he took in for a 90-yard touchdown. "That was cool," Cody modestly said of his achievement. Devins said Cody was real "coachable" and had the mental ability to do what was asked of him.
Other players who stood out were Anthony Peterson as center, Jason Gamet as guard, Brody Clemens and Nick Parker as ends, Ryan Teafoe and Ryan Schnabl as tackles, and Ryan Nash and Nathan Love exchanged plays as guards every other offensive play. Devins said Nathan Love was a big surprise. "He's not the toughest or the fastest, but has a real feel for where the ball is," but was quick to add that he wouldn't put one player over the other. He said they are all so together that they have a chance to go places, that "football is in your heart" and the Eagles have that.
The team and coaches would like to thank all those who helped with the games, officiating, holding the chains, keeping stats and providing refreshments. It was all appreciated.
Now we know our boys, the Eagles, are good at catching their prey on the ground. It will be fun to watch them soar in basketball.
NOTE: IF anyone would like a 5x7 team picture, contact Donna Love at 677-3767 by October 31. Pictures will cost $2.50 each.
Seeley Lake Football Team
Completes Perfect Season
by Jim Nelson
The Seeley Lake Elementary football completed a perfect season this past Saturday, with an impressive 58-0 win over Hamilton. It was supposed to be their toughest game of the year, but the Eagles allowed only two first downs to the Broncs and their offense scored at will as the boys clicked on all cylinders in route to their eleventh win of the season.
Following the game, Hamilton's coach was quoted as saying, "Your boys are very similar to the class I coached a few years ago. That class went on to win back to back state championships." What a compliment. What a great season Eagles!
Here are a few stats for the season. The Seeley Lake boys scored 464 points in 11 games (42.2 ppg). Their defense allowed less than 9.5 ppg, and the "A" team defense only gave up 28 points for the whole season. On the other side of the ball, the offense racked up over 300 yards per game. Fine blocking and team speed led to a backfield that had an impressive yard per carry average (Riley Devins (13.1), Cody Hard (10.2), and Zach Nelson (7.5)).
The Eagles offensive playbook consisted of around 50 high school plays which seemed to have opposing defenses baffled. Even with all this complexity, the team had only three fumbles and no interceptions on the season. There were also two eleven man football games played for the first time by the junior high boys in which the Eagles crushed their opponents 78-8. Those two wins were against Florence and Hamilton. The boys handed these schools only their second defeats of the season.
We would like to thank John, Dave and Conrad for their time committed to coaching our young men. Congratulations!
Seeley 52 - Lincoln 0
Seeley 44 - Drummond 6
Seeley 50 - Philipsburg 20
Seeley 58 - Philipsburg 20
Seeley 40 - Drummond 14
Seeley 48 - Lincoln 0
Seeley 20 - Florence 8*
Seeley 34 - Philipsburg 28
Seeley 22 - Charlo 8
Seeley 38 - Lincoln 0
Seeley 58 - Hamilton 0*
*11 man football game