After a season of losses, Webster Groves High School Statesmen are looking to bounce back against the Kirkwood Pioneers in this year’s Turkey Day Game.
Webster had the tough record of zero wins and nine losses while Kirkwood had six wins and three losses. Although the record of the Statesmen has been disappointing, according to Munir Prince, interim Statesmen coach, he doesn’t feel like the year has been wasted.
“So I will say this our team is very resilient. They have been through a lot this year on and off the field, and there have been a lot of changes that they have had to experience this year, and they have stayed the course which means they have kept on fighting and kept on working hard and never gave up,” Prince said.
Prince also mentioned having people step up was a huge reason he is excited for the future.
“I will say that our seniors as a group have done a great job of getting the juices going because we have a lot of young guys in key positions right now. We have a freshman quarterback and a sophomore running back, and we have a lot of young guys in some places, so the senior leadership has been great, and I can’t name just one guy. It has been the entire group,” Prince added.
There have especially been struggles because of the obstacles the players faced.
According to Prince, this year has been tough with losses and with young players in key positions through the program. Two standout younger players are freshman quarterback Sean Patrick Keegan and sophomore running back Trevion Hulsey.
The one struggle that Prince might have had jumping into the interim coaching job was the transition of coaching staff.
However, according to resigned head coach Matt Buha that was not the case.
“It’s a process. It’s a build. Anytime someone comes in new, there’s gonna be a transition. There’s a feeling-out period. All the credit to our kids, they jumped in with full feet. We were in the process of moving and pushing and building here, and I think a number of our kids would echo that,” Buha said.
Keegan expressed how he’s overly excited and nervous for his first Turkey Day Game and how he’s had unforgettable memories with such an amazing group of people. Although the season comes to an end, it gives him more excitement for the years to come.
Keegan wanted to thank the seniors for their leadership. “I’d like to thank my team for the memories they have given me (and) for all of the acceptance and kindness they have given to me.”
Senior Joel Lazarow said about Turkey Day that there was a lot of adjusting to be done coming back to school, like dealing with masks etc, but overall he’s really just glad to have the opportunity to be back having this be not only his last year but his last Turkey Day Game or game in general. He said it just feels surreal.
Lazarow said even though this wasn’t the season that he and his teammates would have hoped for, despite the record they tried their hardest out on the field, and that’s what matters most.
Not only does Lazarow tell how much he loves his team but also his coaches. He said no one really sees behind the scenes, but the coaches put their all into their team and are always there for the players.
“The whole season is building for the future. I’m proud of my team for sticking together. They are all companionate, big hearted and all around just a fun group of guys. Shout out to them I am going to miss them, “ Lazarow said.
Senior Henry McDermott said about his first and last year of football. He looks forward to ending on a good note. The trust he has built for his teammates is like no other. Win or lose he wanted his team to know that they will always be a family, and he has cherished every second with his team.
“This is my first year of football in general. I’ve had such an amazing experience working with them has been the highlight of my year. I’m going to miss Coach Buha as well. He is like a best friend to the team. This has been such an awesome experience,” McDermott said.
Senior David Mansco is more than excited to be back and is happy to make some last memories with his team that he is very proud of.
“All I can say is I have one last opportunity to play with such an amazing team. No matter what, I love them, and I’m so proud of them. They are such a funny, rowdy and dependable group of guys. It’s an honor to have gotten to play with them,” Mansco said.
Senior Sam Travers has almost completed first and last year of high school football.
According to Travers and others of the team, COVID created a few major setbacks for the team, and things were majorly different after coming back starting with not having gotten the chance to play one last game with the 2021 football graduates. Travers also brought up how proud he was of the team.
Travers said, “I’m mostly proud of my teammates for playing their hardest all year long. We have all really bonded throughout this experience and have become close. Just the bond itself is really special, even throughout the last couple of years. I’m really proud of my team.”
This will be Owen Crews’ first year on ECHO staff, but he made several contributions while taking journalism class his sophomore year.
This will be Layla Johnson’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her junior year.