By Matthew Yoder
The emotion on players’ and coaches’ faces following Chincoteague’s 41-0 loss last Friday to Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot had little, if anything, to do with the outcome. What was more evident was a representation of the end, of a season and for 12 seniors’ participation in a sport many have played on the island since an early age.
The game was a runaway, another case of an opponent in the Knights moving the ball from hybrid formations behind a larger line and erupting with big plays. It’s been the same story for much of the season. The story does not necessarily need repeating. From the sidelines, and all the way back to summer practices, the internal story is of a team bonding as a family, fighting through injuries and depth issues, but most importantly fighting until the last play every game.
Camron Davis was one such player. He entered Friday’s contest banged up but undeterred to see his football journey end without one last stand. He, along with fellow senior Wes Britton, carried the load on the offensive side of the ball after senior Dakota Bowden suffered a broken leg week one. They, too, would sustain injuries throughout the campaign but continued to tally yards on the ground and compete with the utmost desire. Ultimately Davis’ swan song was cut short in the third quarter against the Knights but not before one final impassioned effort. He strode the sidelines watching his teammates complete a difficult season with great class. Davis spoke of his own skills only when prompted and quickly transitioned to the aspect of football he’d miss the most, the camaraderie.
“I feel like I improved from the first game running the ball,” said Davis. “But what I’ll miss most was playing together as one, as a family.”
Along with Davis stood Brandon Bundick, also reflecting on the season and what will be lost the most. Davis and Bundick proved to be a lethal connection in the Ponies’ matchup with FCA Bucks, a game in which they provided much to cheer about with their twice-successful trick pass out of the backfield. In the waning minutes of the game against Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot they stood side by side, the crescent moon shining behind them above the goal posts. Bundick spoke similarly of what he would miss most when the horn blew on the season.
“It’s just fun being with teammates,” Bundick said. A respectful bunch of kids speaking to the concept of family extended likewise in the words of coaches. Following a lengthy postgame huddle, in which tears were evident, coaches Tony Nock and Contrel Brown emerged emotional themselves, having delivered what was no doubt the most difficult talk of the season. When asked if he would miss this group of athletes Brown did not hesitate to respond. “Yes sir, these guys were like my son,” said Brown.
As players approached Brown with indebted sincerity, he continued to talk of their presence.
“These guys are first class, I’ll miss them big time, it was a really big family with these guys,” Brown said.
Brown humbly went the extra mile to include these kids, care for them, and as the season ends that’s likely what will be ingrained moving forward.
Forward was a theme prevalent in Nock’s postgame comments to the reporter. He spoke not of a team of college football recruits but of lawyers and doctors, of kids striving to be great in their professions.
“These guys have goals, they are a classy bunch of kids,” said Nock. Back during practices Nock set a theme of every pony leaves a print, and speaking to that point some two and a half months later, he believes this group of seniors impressed, both with their attitudes and their determination.
“They knew what they were up against all season, that it would be an uphill battle, but they competed,” Nock said.
And in a season of lessons learned, he believes this group of players will be stronger for what they have dealt with, that they will take heed and do proud by their school.
“I see greatness away from Chincoteague in these kids,” said Nock. As a spectator occupying the sidelines with this team, let the attitudes of these seniors stand as the greatest punctuation to the Ponies’ 2019 season.