Wayne M. Henkle Middle School's seventh- and eighth-grade football teams learned the meaning of commitment and what hard work is all about during the 2001 season.
From late August, when temperatures regularly climbed into the 90s, to the cold, damp chill of October, more than 40 boys powered through a long and sometimes arduous campaign.
"It was so hot on some of those early days, I was seeing double," remarked first-year assistant coach Steve Kingsford-Smith, a sixth-grader teacher at Henkle. "And on the last game in Ridgefield, we were pacing the sideline just to stay warm."
All the hard work and extensive commitment, however, didn't add up to a winning season for the eighth-grade Grizzlies, who finished the year with a 1-5 record.
"The eighth-graders were an incredible second-half football team, but you don't win games in a half," reflected head coach Mitch Plummer.
But, he noted, the team had its shining moments. "Our greatest moment of the season must have been handing Stevenson back a thumping on their home turf after they beat us earlier in the season."
Henkle's seventh-grade gridders posted a couple more wins than their elder gridiron brethren, ending their year 3-3. Plummer said the team showed great promise, nonethless.
"Two out of three of those losses were heartbreakers," he said. "We had a few call that didn't go our way, and there you go, but that's football for you. This team played with a lot of heart and will be great to watch next year."