Mike Martin Talks Football
Sometimes in life a life is larger than life itself
Mike Martin shares this perspective on FHHS Wolverine Football…
As the FHHS Wolverines football team heads into their final regular season game the team finds themselves backed into a corner on the road against the LaConner Braves in a must-win game: win and they advance to state.
The last time these two teams squared off in Friday Harbor it was a tug-of-war game. The Wolverines took the Braves’ best shots in stride and just kept playing smash-mouth Wolverine football for four quarters. Friday Harbor won 14-0.
Junior running back, Emeron Geiser, said that against the Braves the coaches said it would come down to who was tougher. “Coach Hauck challenged us to play a full 48 minutes of football.” It was a defensive battle that was played between the 30 yard lines for most of the game. It was two long touchdown runs of 52 and 32 yards by Emeron that proved to be the difference on the scoreboard.
But the difference on the field was mental. In the team huddle after the game Wolverine Head Coach, Brock Hauck, addressed his team: “I told you to play four quarters. That if you kept hitting them hard on each play that we would be victorious.”
The “we” Coach Hauck spoke of included junior honorary captain, Quincy Vague. Just as Coach Hauck spoke of the lesson that they had just learned on the field that night the real-life lesson was sitting behind their bench. Every time they looked to the sideline they their saw teammate in the fight of his life.
On March 4th of this year doctors at Seattle’s Children Hospital found a grade-3 malignant tumor called an anaplastic astrocytoma. In the months since Quincy and his family have logged enough miles between Friday Harbor and Seattle that Hollye Vague, Quincy’s mom could probably drive it blindfolded. Despite all of the traveling Quincy has been at all of their home games this year.
Seeing Quincy’s fight with cancer, Sophomore running back, Ethan Germain, says that with every little bit of pain on the field they draw inspiration and it has made them fight even harder…for Quincy.
They also knew that the pain that they would feel in the game was the same pain that their opponents would feel…but that the Wolverines players put the pain into perspective.
“What pain we’re going through on the field is nothing compared to what Quincy is going through,” Ethan says. “He’s going through Hell.”
So the team just shrugs off pain.
Enter the match up with the 1B powerhouse Lummi Nation Blackhawks: David -v- Goliath. The Blackhawks strode into last Friday night’s game on a roll. They had won their two previous contests by a combined margin of 90-28 including a victory over the Concrete Lions who defeated FHHS twice this season.
On Friday night, against the Blackhawks, from his seat in the bleachers, Quincy led his team to an improbable come-from-behind victory. After the visitors steamrolled their way to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter the Wolverines stumbled and fumbled the ball away. It looked like the home team was in for a long night.
Ethan says that Quincy helps the team keep things in perspective so that not only were they were unfazed by the adversity on the field but they actually drew inspiration from it. The Wolverine defense turned the high-powered Braves offense away repeatedly. As the defense continued to get the ball to the offense the offense was finally able to break through as they rattled off the final 23 points of the game.
In the days before the Blackhawks game the coaches focused on every drill, every play, being perfect.
“We were better prepared mentally and physically than we had been all season,” Emeron says. They knew that they were facing a powerful offense. “The coaches asked us to play hard the entire game no matter what the outcome was.”
Now, against the LaConner Braves on Friday night, they find themselves fighting for a state playoff berth. The fight that Quincy shows every day is the fight that the team embodies on the field: They play for Quincy but they also strive to play LIKE Quincy… for 48 minutes.
Quincy says that the love is a two-way street. “I love my team so much, I feel it each and every day.”
He says that he feels the entire island community as well. “It’s the support from the Wolverine players, coaches, cheerleaders, the announcer, friends, fans and opposing teams that helps with my healing, recovery and keeps a smile on my face,” Quincy said.
Even the University of Washington football team sent Quincy a video encouraging him to continue to fight. The video included a personal invitation from Head Coach, Chris Petersen for Quincy to come to a game this year.
He says that his heart of full of love: He hears the cheers at the games and the kind words of support in the hallways to each other during the day.
That night against LaConner in late September it all clicked in their heads. It was a beautiful moment of clarity for the team. They saw the fight in Quincy and took their fight to the Braves. Quincy said that as much as he’s taught them to fight they’ve taught him to fight as well.
This Friday under the lights at LaConner High School the lesson comes full circle.
“Quincy always gave everything he had on the field,” Emeron said. “He’s a big part of our team. We’re fighting for him on the field.”
For 48 minutes.
Oly Archibald and Mike Martin will be calling the game live on www.fhTinyRadio.com and available in town on 1650 AM. The coverage will begin with the pregame show at 6:45 and then live play-by-play at 7:00.