Hearts of Champions

Sacramento Region, CA  |  By Andrea Hatch
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Sacramento Region, CA (MPG) - For the first time in ten years the Casa Roble Varsity Football team made it to the championships. It was not an easy journey to end a season with such accomplishment. When I asked Coach Horner what the hardships and joys have been he said that the joy is just being able to be part of the championships, and the hard parts are week to week. He said one of the biggest challenges is keeping the guys motivated each day. With 50 players on the team 31 are returning players and 17 of the 31 are returning starters, this has definitely given Casa Roble a leg up this season. Casa Roble made it to the semi-finals last year and that only made them hungrier this year to get to the championships. This success did not happen overnight by any means.

Coach Horner offered the boys an off season option and they were all in. After getting so close last season the team wanted to give it their all this season. Off season started on January 20, 2018 and it entailed a personal trainer and starting their workouts at 5:30 a.m. four days per week. That is dedication for any age group, but especially for teenage boys. Coach Horner said, “I watched boys become men”. He watched them work harder than ever before and said, “This accomplishment has nothing to do with the coaches. Players win games, they do all the work; we just put them in the right place and teach them to play with passion”. He said it takes leadership to keep the team focused, especially when they get a “false sense of awesome”, which is a common issue with any group that is continuously succeeding. Coach Horner said, “We had to teach them that they have to work hard even when they feel untouchable”. It takes a pretty great coach to see what the team needs and to help guide them all the way through. It seems to me the coaches have definitely stepped up and done their part to help in the success shown by Casa Roble this season.

I asked the coach if the team is required to do any type of community service or volunteering. He said that they are not required to, and he isn’t sure if they do it just to appease him, but that they definitely step up anytime they are asked to pitch in. There is a church nearby that does a yard sale and the team was asked if they wanted to take 45 minutes away from practice to help out and they did. They were able to unload what would have taken the church staff a week, or more, in 45 minutes. It helped the church and gave the boys a sense of accomplishment. They also participate in Orangevale night by volunteering their time to work the booths, which gives the younger age groups people to look up to.   

                Casa Roble not only works to better themselves, and their community, but they voluntarily strive to help those around them as well. As we are all aware, many people have been affected by the Paradise fire. When the football players were given an option to help, or not, they chose to jump in and adopt the Paradise football team. They did not do this to “look good” or to get “kudos” from their community, they did this because they have been taught that other football players are not just their rivals, they are family. I see it as a sibling relationship. We fight and compete with our siblings on a daily basis, but if they are in trouble we step up and do what we can to help them. The Casa Roble football team took care of their football brothers, which is what we hope to see from our youth.

                While Casa Roble made it to the Championship they did not win today’s game against Rio Linda. The final score was 63-14. While they did not win, they did work hard and did their best. They worked together as a team and their stands were full of community support. Casa Roble are winners even if the score at the end of today’s game said differently. It has taken them a decade to get here and something tells me it will not take another decade to see them in the championships again. Anyone that works as hard as they have will definitely been seen again soon. Way to go boys, keep up the good work.