“Seeing everybody smile is always great,” said Kickapoo senior Boone Shevey.
Just like scoring a touchdown, it was all smiles for Kickapoo football at Backwoods Golf on Friday.
“Stuff like this is super cool,” said senior Logan Whitley.
The Chiefs capped their first full week of practice on Friday with a senior gathering of golf instead of football.
“There’s a lot of guys out there that I’m glad they’re football players and not golfers,” Boone joked.
Despite some ugly swings, the players enjoyed the company of each other and their dads.
“Coach Thomas does a super job of getting the kids and the dads together,” said Kickapoo dad and former Florida State football player Barry Ward. “You know, it’s a family here at a Kickapoo.”
It’s a family that features 28 seniors this fall, including Barry’s son Kevin Ward.
It’s the first group to play all four years under Head Coach Nate Thomas.
“I feel like we’ve really been looking forward to this year since like 8th grade even, I know we talked about it after our season then, and we’ve been so excited,” Logan said.
That excitement is driven by confidence. With such a large senior class, the Chiefs feel like 2020 could be their season, if there’s even a season at all.
“It’s killing us,” Boone said. “Just the thought of not having something we’ve been looking forward to since we were freshmen, it’s been eating at us every day.”
“For them not to be able to go out and show what they can do their senior year, I can’t even imagine not being able to do it, but we try to stay extremely confident. At times we don’t even want to talk about it,” Ward said.
While it’s tempting to block it out, the Chiefs do talk about it.
“Coach Thomas always says after practice, ‘protect our bubble, keep our guys healthy,” Boone said.
Hopefully that means their 28 seniors will get the chance to end their Kickapoo careers on their terms.
“This might be my last time playing football ever, so it’s really important to me and I’m really hoping I can go out and play this year,” Logan said.
The Chiefs are set to open the season with a home game against Camdenton on August 28th,