Neligh-Oakdale's eight-game playoff season came to an end Friday night and culminated with an unprecedented perfect season.
Following the 55-15 victory over Humphrey/Holy Family, coach Ron Beacom shared his trademark words of wisdom around one of the largest groups to ever travel with the Warriors.
His final words said it all: "I love all you guys. I really do. I don't aways show it or show it the way you are used to being showed love, but I do," he said before bringing the Warriors together for one final huddle of the season.
The Warriors dominated Humphrey/Holy Family in the game and held a commanding 36-8 lead at the half and never looked back.
Beacom told his players that he's researched past teams and is unaware of any other Neligh-Oakdale squad to go 8-0. Despite being ineligible for the playoffs due to enrollment, he said no one can ever take away their perfect season.
"No one can take that away from you," he said. "It doesn't take away what you've accomplished. It doesn't take away the hard work you put in day after day. Would I like to keep playing? Absolutely. If you thought this was fun, the next five games would have been even greater," he said.
Beacom complimented his senior class for helping to create a winning tradition. Each year, they accomplished another goal - making the playoffs, winning and hosting a playoff game, winning the district title and finally the perfect season.
"Coming into your freshman year, there wasn't a lot of tradition," Beacom said. "You guys knocked of 25 wins in four years. Twenty one in the last three. There's not that many teams out there that can even say that, no matter the class or what part of the state you live in."
And Beacom encouraged the younger players stay hungry and want to continue the tradition that's been built. He joked that the freshman each year probably think he's crazy with how he coaches and works them, but in the end, it pays off he said.
It takes dedication - and players. The Warriors cannot win without a team, he said. "Those of you who get the chance to come back and play, I hope you all take that opportunity. Even better - find a friend and tell them you had fun this year," he said.
Football is just like life, Beacom said. If you work hard, good things will come. Like the perfect 8-0 season.
"Is it hard work? Absolutely. But I'm a believer that nothing good, nothing great you'll earn in your life is easy. If you think it is, I'm sorry because you'll be highly disappointed. You feel pretty good right now, but you've earned it," Beacom said.
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