BY SYDNEY SNELSON
As Bill Belichick once said, “Talent sets the floor. Character sets the ceiling.” New head coach, Robert Stough, has set out to rebuild the foundation of what Truman High School football is all about. Which starts with a new slogan: “Burn the Boats”. Related to when Hernán Cortés led a Spanish expedition, in 1519, the phrase has sparked excitement within the program and the school as a whole. Everyone wants to leave behind the past seasons and losing records, and move towards a strong team. In the pre-season jamboree it looked like the mindset had started to change. Against Ruskin and ISD rivals Van Horn, the boys put on a show and played extremely well against their opponents picking up a couple wins.
But Coach Stough doesn’t just want a winning season, he wants to teach his players lessons that they’ll carry on the field, in the classroom, and throughout the rest of their lives, “I want to provide a safe and fun environment where we can teach young men and women about the great game of football while also helping them cultivate the skills needed to be successful by the time they leave our building.” He wants them to not only be good players, but good people. Which is why over the summer the team volunteered numerous times including at Van Horn for Project Shine, as well as helping new employees in the district move into their homes.
Going into the new season with players who are the last to experience a Truman High win, this is undoubtedly the end of an era for the Patriots, and they want to end it on a high note. With the introduction of Coach Stough and his way of teaching, the boys are already unrecognizable with the way they carry themselves. Senior Noah Smith commented on the different feeling this season has, “There’s just something about it. The energy, the locker room, the brotherhood. It’s something I really haven’t seen to this level throughout high school, and it feels really good. I’m confident we can turn this around and have a strong season.” After watching the first game of the season against Raytown South last Friday, it’s evident that this team has changed in the last four months. Rather than accepting defeat after things began to get hard, the Patriots kept fighting, and even scored touchdowns late into the game when they were trailing. Although a loss, 46-27, the attitude after was more positive than ever before. As senior Ajay Cheema puts it, “The game was close in the first half. Closer than I can ever remember a game being. It was a few minor mistakes that made us lose. The talent was there.”
Though the season has just begun, the enthusiasm for the program has spread all over the school. Everyone wants to experience a win like the Patriots did 3 years ago. Looking at the team now, it doesn’t seem impossible. With the guidance of a new head coach, the growing passion, and fresh mindset, Truman football is on the track to win once again.
Highlights from their season opening win: