Sports

Demons' work ethic proved magic

Photo courtesy of Crrie Neuman

Washington's Luke Turner launches a pass in the playoff game against Western Dubuque.
Photo courtesy of Crrie Neuman Washington's Luke Turner launches a pass in the playoff game against Western Dubuque.
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WASHINGTON -- The magic is in the work.

This was a saying of the Washongton High School football program in 2019.

It is a saying that proved itself.

The Demons overcame a number of things, including the use of an inelgibile player that turned a win into a forfeit, to make the playoffs.

“The playoffs were part of our goal, but not all of it,” Washington head coach James Harris said. “I am disappointed we came up short (against Western Dubuque in the first round of the playoffs).”

Overcoming trials and tribulations can hone one’s abilities.

“Losing is a powerful teacher, so it is important to learn from this experience,” Harris said. “I am incredibly proud of my team.”

The magic is in the work.

“Our players put in a tremendous amount of time, work commitment and emotion and have invested themselves in trying to represent our team, school and community the right way,” Harris said.

For a team to make the playoffs after having a win turn into a loss says a lot about the fortitude of its players and coaches.

“Our seniors are 12 incredible young men who will go on to be solid, accountable people,” Harris said of Brady Knutson, Luke Turner, Dillon Sanders, Jace Buck, Jarrett Bender, Brody Wagner, Ryan Friese, Juan Cano, Lucas Ellis, Jaden Crawford, Ethan Hunt and Tyler VanWeelden.

Senior leadership is vital for a high school sports team to be successful.

“Replacing those guys will be difficult, though I am excited for the future of Demon football,” Harris said. “We will be returning a loaded junior class full of letter winners, so we’ll have experience.”

Juniors on the roster this season were Zac Stout, Trashaun Willis, Spencer Sotelo, Chase Messamaker, Reece Mayer, Joseph Labelle, Ayden Frazier, Wyatt Stout, Bryan Martin, Wilx Witthoft, Thomas Bias, Jack Strabala, Kael Adam, Roy Carter, Noah Kleese, Brayden Harvey, Cooper Reed, Zayne Laws, Caleb Schwab and Rasmus Lund.

“I feel our sophomore and freshmen classes are talented and we will have varsity contributions from both next year,” Harris said.

He also gave a shout-out to his assistants.

“Thank you to my coaching staff of great men,” Harris said. “They are overworked and underpaid and put so much time and emotional investment into our program and our players. I can’t say enough about how good they are.”

After the second round of the playoffs, the Demons are still the highest scoring team in Class 3A. That’s with one less game played and just 10 points scored in their playoff game.

“Hats off to Coach Don Miksch and the year they had on offense,” Harris said. “What a fun team we were to watch.”

Harris also had praise for those that are not always associated with the football program.

“Thank you to our school teachers and administration for their support working with and supporting our program and student athletes,” Harris said.

He also was appreciative of those who follow the Washington football program.

“Thank you to all of Demon Nation,” Harris said. “You all did an incredible job supporting us this year. Finally, I am very proud of the 2019 Demon Football program. I thought they epitomized our program’s core values of: Accountability, Hard Work, Toughness, Respect, and Family.”

Planning for next year has already begun.

“The only thing left to do is assess weakness, make a plan to address it and move forward,” Harris said. “Magic in the Work.”