By Justin Robertson
Since the start of the 2018 football season, the Glenelg Varsity Football team has been nothing short of exceptional. Glenelg is currently 10-0 record with one game left in the regular season, and is the only team in Howard County that is undefeated. The offense has been scoring at a
strong rate and the defense has been keeping opponent's offenses in check. Ever since head Coach Butch Schaffer and his staff began coaching at Glenelg the football program has been fantastic, but this may be the year that Glenelg wins a state championship.
Coaching a high school football team is a strenuous task, especially with high expectations every year. Teams will often fall due to a lack of coaching stability or skill of the players. However, at Glenelg, Coach Schaffer and his staff have consistently coached a top team in Howard County since his arrival in 2005. Schaffer is not like other coaches that are only involved during practice and games. He relates to the players and knows how to motivate them with rewards for performing well. He knows the difficulties of balancing academics with sports, but expects players to keep a high academic profile. He visits players at their homes if they get severely injured. These traits are what make coach Schaffer so great at what he does. However, during the season, Schaffer also faces some challenges in successfully preparing for every Friday night game. He says that the challenge for him is, “Keeping the kids focused and healthy and making sure we take one it one day at a time.” Keeping the kids healthy is not an exact science, but keeping them focused for every game seems to be working.
The mindset and talent for this year’s team has a different feel to it than teams in the past, in part due to Schaffer’s coaching. Despite the school being founded 60 years ago, Glenelg has yet to win a state championship in football. This title drought does not seem to affect the team, as starting tight end Drew Sotka says, “We are a very solid team this year and we don’t let previous teams define our legacy.” Schaffer and his staff are clearly keeping the team focused on this year and giving them plenty of confidence to reach the ultimate goal. To accomplish this goal, the team is, as Sotka says, “[Not focusing] on the playoffs, we focus on one game at a time.” Many teams will focus on a future game instead of the game that is happening that week. This increases the chances of not being prepared and ultimately losing a game.
This type of mentally has been present in years past, but what makes this year’s team different? Obviously some players were lost and gained from last season, but specific changes have allowed Glenelg to succeed at a high level. One of these changes is talent. This year’s team has plenty of talent, especially on the defensive side. Defensive Coach Timothy Cullen says, “We have a lot of experience, intelligence, [and] a lot of players coming back [from last year].” The leadership in the locker room also seems to be improved from last season. Coach Schaffer describes this year’s team as being different than previous teams due to the, “[Great] senior leadership.” Strong leaders like Wande Owens, Sam Alsheimer, and Tyler Reiff help unify the team as a whole and build up confidence in others. Owens considers himself a strong leader of the football team and strives to “set an example in and outside the classroom.”
From the coaching talent of Schaffer and his staff to the focus and confidence of the team, Glenelg Varsity Football seems to be a serious contender for this year’s state championship. Playoffs are approaching, and this time, Glenelg is looking to go all the way.