Fight, Cadets, Fight: A Spectacular Football Season
Sam Trammell '22
The game clock strikes zero. After a round of customary handshakes, the brigade of 100 blue jerseys sprint over to the right side of the bleachers to belt out the traditional Fight Song in front of their loyal fans. The exhausted, hungry boys then climb up the wooden steps from field to concrete and make their way to the burger stand to enjoy some well-deserved food before their post game meeting. A mere 15 minutes later, faint sounds of cheering, laughter, and Yung Gravy’s “Mrs. Buttersworth” can be heard emanating from the locker room. These lively celebrations and rituals can only mean one thing: the Saint Thomas Academy Cadets have won another football game.
These exuberant displays of victory were not uncommon this season- the Cadets had an outstanding 2021 campaign, finishing with 10 wins and only a single loss. They consistently dominated the gridiron on both sides of the ball, averaging nearly five touchdowns and conceding a mere 7 points per game. Hundreds of supportive fans came out every week, waiting with excitement to see the Cadets do their work. Highlights of the season included the resurrection of a century-long rivalry with Cretin-Derham Hall, a rushing touchdown for a nail-bitingly close victory against Mahtomedi, and a back-and-forth struggle against Mankato West under a flurry of snow. The Cadets were able to perform so well due to both the player’s hard work and the direction of head coach Dan O’Brien, as well as the many other assistant coaches.
One must wonder what the players think, though. How did the Cadets define success this year? A few seniors gave their thoughts in an interview: “We’re all one team,” says noseguard Billy Brandjen, “a lot of people had to move around and switch positions over the year, and nobody complained because they knew it was good for the team.” Wide Receiver Jack Dzubnar had similar remarks: “We spend so much time together. Our bond is just different from anything else. We have so many unique traditions that everyone enjoys.” Finally, Center Dillon Lynch spoke to the team’s commitment. “I remember waking up at 5:45 every morning last winter to go in and lift, and a lot of kids did the same. I feel like everyone really bought in”.
From these seniors’ testimonies, a common theme emerges: commitment to the game and each other. The Cadets grinded during the offseason, were flexible on the field, and had a strong loyalty to the team and the sport as a whole. Despite the challenges that they faced, they were able to stay motivated and come out victorious. The Cadets truly espoused Coach O’Brien’s philosophy of being humble, being thankful, being on time, and outworking other teams and players. Their determination and camaraderie carried them to success and made for a spectacular football season.