James Nosek | Press Box Perspectives Editor/Columnist
Listening to Coach Castner’s team meeting after the loss vs. St. Xavier was the perfect ending to the season.
As Castner stood over his players, he gave one of the most humble post game speeches, speaking about how proud he was of the senior class and how they have created a legacy that can never be destroyed… it gave me goose bumps.
Castner then shifted the focus to the underclassmen and he said, “You guys have everything to look for, the seniors have paved you that path.” The last words he uttered were “I love you guys,” as the whole team jumped up to go sing to the student section.
It truly seemed like I was watching Herb Brooks talk to the 1980 Olympic hockey team but really I was just living in the moment, a moment where I realized how special this season really was.
Now obviously Mason couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that they helped change the very program that has been around for fifty years.
This team proved that they can hang with the best of them, that they can compete in one of the most competitive high school football atmospheres in Ohio and possibly the country.
“Family” and “the long green line” are now embedded into this program as a way of life rather than smart marketing tools to sell t-shirts. The way the team has carried its self out throughout the year is something that brings a whole city together, a legacy that can never be destroyed.
At the beginning of the year, about a month before the season, Castner was talking about this upcoming season and he said he wanted to “finish what they started.”
“We were sitting at 5-3 last year with a chance to be in the playoffs and we didn’t finish,” Castner said. “This year, our team motto is to finish. When we get to the games, we want to finish every play, every quarter, every half and every game.”
I can see why he was upset at the end of last year; Mason lost two close games, including the Sycamore game when they lost in overtime on a field goal. They really had a shot at the post season and they blew it but the cool thing about this year is they didn’t make the same mistake, they finished this time.
The Comets won five out of their last six games, they made it to the playoffs for the first time in seven years and most importantly, they shut up the critics. Just like Castner said to his team after the game, “there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”