One Last Goodbye

Senior Luke Stallings writes about the impact football had on his high school experience.

Luke Stallings (No. 17) was a team captain for the Owls this season.

Luke Stallings, Staff Writer

Over the last three years, football has been a huge part of my life. I have spent countless hours in the football locker room and field. Football has given me so many great memories, and I was able to share those memories with so many guys that I can now call friends.

I didn’t start playing football until my sophomore year. As a kid, I played soccer until my freshman year, but when I tried out during my freshman year, I didn’t make the team. As it turns out, getting cut was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Since I was finished playing soccer, I decided to go out for football the next summer. The entire atmosphere of being in that football locker room was amazing. Everyone was energetic and hyped, including the coaches. I fell in love with football from day one.

I started for the JV team, and I actually played a significant amount for my first time ever playing the sport. The JV played really well and that excitement kept us going into the next season.

I was very hyped for my junior year of football. It was my first time starting for a varsity team, and I was close with almost everyone there. This was also Coach Demo’s (Alex DeMatteis) first year as head coach. The season didn’t go how we wanted, but that gave myself and others motivation to work even harder in the offseason.

I went to every workout the following winter, and during the spring, I ran track to try to get faster and stay in shape for the summer. That was also a great decision. This summer we had workouts almost every single day, 7 on 7s once a week, a 2 week long camp, and actual practice started as soon as August started. I put the hard work in all year long for my senior year of football.

At the end of the summer, Alex McCallister, Johnny Fasanello, and myself were named the team captains. My goal from last year was to be the captain of the team, and I did it. All that was left for us was to go out there and play our game.

The team wanted to change the way the football program was looked at by everyone. Windsor football has had a bad reputation within our community, and our No. 1 goal was to prove them wrong. The whole team worked harder this offseason than any other team or sport I’ve ever played.

When the season finally started, and we lost those first two games, I was honestly heartbroken. We had put in so much time and effort into coming to football every day and getting better, just for us to still lose. It was hard. The team itself struggled after those first two losses, but after those two, we started to see that we could actually compete against these teams. We were playing good football, but with the little numbers we had as a team, winning was still a process.

Going into Week 8, we needed a win. The team took a charter bus to Cuba–the same place Windsor football had its last win two long years ago.  In the cold rain and muddy field, we won. We got Windsor a varsity football win. It really was a special moment for all of us. We got ourselves a win, and it felt awesome!

That next week was senior night–my last home game. The pressure was on for us to go put on a show for the home crowd, and get our second win, back to back. The whole senior night celebration was really nice. I didn’t cry or anything, but it got us hyped for our last home game. You know what happened next? We shut out Bayless 50-0. Let me repeat that–we won by 50 points on our senior night. Not bad for a team that went two years without a win.

Then, we had our district game against Ladue. We played our game the best we could, but our season ended there. I played that game like it was my last, and I left it all out there. The fact that I would never be playing football again didn’t hit me in just one single moment. It hit me in waves that entire night. Hugging my mom after the game, walking off the field in pads for the last time, driving home…

I think driving home was the hardest part. Every possible emotion hit me during that ten minute drive, and when I made it home, I realized this was my last time walking into my house sore and beat up after a football game.  

With it all said and done, I loved it. I loved playing football, and I especially loved playing with my teammates. I won’t be missing any up-downs or conditioning, but I am sad to say it’s over.