For today’s post mortem, I am not going to give out grades. I am not going to select MVP’s. I am not really going to do that much of a game analysis other than those that are incidental. I am just going to share what last night meant to me watching the game and seeing what I saw last night.
First off, I cannot believe in all honesty that we are this good this quickly. We are not a team that was on the fence of being somewhat good. We had not been decent since 2009 before the horrid stretch that was 2010, 2011, and 2012. A lot of times it hard to imagine that we had two North Division Championships before in 2007 and 2009. Those do not mean much of anything however, as you basically get a trophy but not much else. Nothing else to play for. I remember back in 2007 making the trip to Oklahoma to see us clinch the North Division. Sure there was some joy that we won a Championship of SOME KIND, but not like the adulation that was last night. As the Lions were just pouring it on, we were witnessing something. We were seeing a once proud Football program, one of the best small college programs in all of America be resurrected to its glory. We will never the the best every year, there will be down years like there has been with every Coach our program has ever had, (with the very notable exception of Milburn Smith, who only had 3 seasons). The mediocrity seems to have just melted in a very fast and quick exit. That all has to do with leadership.
President Daniel Jones is a great University president. His hire of Ryan Ivey might be the best thing to happen to this school in the past 20 years. The one thing about Ryan is that he refuses to settle for good, or even better. He takes what he has and makes the best of it. I remember as an undergraduate, people were yelling to demolish Memorial stadium and build a smaller, but nicer stadium on Highway 224, just west of town. Ryan is of the school of thought that restoring tradition with current tools is the way to go, and I am with him. His hire of Colby Carthel could not have been better.
I remember when the HC position opened, I was yelling for Hal Mumme to get the job. I wanted a guy like Hal who was a complete off the cuff, throw the ball like crazy, score as much as you can coach. What I did not realize is that what we needed is a man like Colby Carthel. He is a man who purged the program of the attitudes and players that were here to use up a scholarship or the school’s financial aid to party in Commerce for 4-5 years. No way to that. It becomes an addition by subtraction way of recruiting, or a “back door revival” as my Dad would call it. Coach Carthel cut the team from 90 players to 35, and added players that wanted to be good players, good students, and good Men.
Last night was the very quick accumulation of those things. Ulitmately it was the players that made it happen. Tyrick Rollison was supposed to have quit Football by now, but he is the best passer maybe in the entire nation. Deric Davis was supposed to have quit after losing the starting job, but he stayed and set school records……..as a backup! Joe Bergeron was supposed to have been run off any team, but he is going to graduate from College and get a degree, and lord knows Commerce was never supposed to host another LSC title game, but it has.
To the Players, their families, administrators, and coaches, I salute you all and say thank you for your hard work, and congratulations on your well deserved Championship.