Forest Hills Eastern’s Varsity Football season is officially coming to a close.
Uniforms are being handed in, practices have ended, and the cold is setting in. Eastern’s team closed the season after the Playoff game against Unity Christian, a 9-0 team. Unfortunately, Eastern did not advance past the playoffs. Though disappointing for both the team and the school as a whole, this year marks the second season in a row with Eastern in the playoffs, which is a huge achievement.
Eastern finished the season with a 5-5 record overall. They played in the sweltering heat, pouring rain, and no matter what, their fans came to support them. When asked about the student section at the games, Joseph Schwander, the Varsity coach, said that “our student section was, and is, without question, the most spirited and biggest that I have seen. We staff and players are grateful for their energy and support and can’t wait to get back out on the field next season.”
Coach Schwander also had a few words for the team: “I am proud of you and grateful for your commitment to the team and to the pursuit of excellence.” Throughout the season, Schwander could be seen on the sidelines of every game, yelling plays and critiques to his team. When asked about his highlight of the season, he said that he “will forever remember our team’s last week of preparation,” and that “the result of our playoff game was not what we had hoped for, but it wasn’t a result of a lack of preparation. Our coaches and players had a great week of practice. It was really enjoyable to watch our players and coaches work together trying to extend our season. The intensity and competitiveness were at their highest.”
The quarterback of Eastern’s varsity team, Brayden Stratbucker (’22), was an influential leader on the team this year. He supported the team through both the wins and losses. When asked for the best moment of the season, he immediately answered that “beating Wayland on a senior night and guaranteeing our chance to make the playoffs” was the highlight. He also talked about how thankful he was for the coaches this year, saying that they not only “made him better at football,” but they also “made him a better man.”
Since this is a season wrap-up, let’s discuss some of the strengths of the team and some of the things to work on (as acknowledged by Coach Schwander). Among the things to work on, he mentioned that, since the “players are committed to continuing to push themselves to the limits, physically and mentally,” that the main focus will be to increase “work ethic and ability to care for one another.” With strengths, Schwander had no challenge coming up with an answer: “willingness to compete, receive criticism, and then work hard to get better.”
This team has pushed themselves every single day to improve themselves, and we are all excited to see how the work put in this year will affect the next season. Until then, stay warm Hawks!