On August 2nd the Falls City Tiger Football coaching staff had their fall parent meeting.  Bellow are the highlights from that meeting if you were unable to attend. 

This summer our guys worked their tails off in the weight room and on the field when they were there.  We competed in 7 on 7 at Sabetha.  We attended and competed at Concordia against schools who were much larger than us.  We had players come in during the winter to work on footwork and fundamentals.  Players are learning a new offense, defense and special teams scheme.  We have merged the middle school and high school programs into one unit that teaches the same principals and utilizes the same facilities.  We have had tremendous leadership from our four seniors in the program.  It has been a busy nine months. 

Physicals must be complete and all paperwork must be turned in to the HS or MS office before students can practice on August 8th.  It is a good idea to give the offices a call if you think your paperwork is complete just to be sure.  We found some parents that thought everything was complete but were missing signatures etc.  Below are the High School and Middle School Students who will not be able to practice on August 8th due to missing paperwork.  These are names of students who attended weights this summer and indicated that they may play football that are missing paperwork as of 10:00AM on August 3rd.  Please call the schools if you have questions:

High School:  Kemper Foster, Charlie McNeely, Daniel Hollens, Preston Buckminister, Kaedyn Courtney, Derek Helmick, Leo Lendermon, Cade Caudle

Middle School:  Thomas Godemann, Aiden Rego, Payton Rose, Burke Wissman, Zane Elms, Brandon Feighner, Kaleb Kaiser, Gary Kroeze, Levi Lendermon, River Macardican

Practice starts on August 8th at 6:00AM at Jug Brown Stadium for grade 7-12.  It is a good idea to arrive at the stadium at least 30 minutes before the start of practice.

Coaches are not Doctors!   If your player is telling you they are injured get them checked out immediately.  Only doctors or certified trainers have the ability to determine the difference between being hurt or injured.  Orthopedic doctors are preferred over family practitioners for orthopedic athletic injuries.  This is what they do on a daily basis and are experts in the area of sports related injury medicine.  CMC Hospital in Falls City has walk in hours for the orthopedic doctor on Tuesdays from 7-9AM.  Nebraska Orthopedic has walk in hours on Saturday Mornings.  We also have a visiting trainer that players can visit.  They just need to tell the school secretary and get on the list.   If a player has any concussion symptoms they must be under a Doctors care and will not be able to play until they have cleared the protocol and are cleared by a doctor.  Football is a game that hurts.  Players can play with bruises, scrapes.  What we don’t want is something to be more serious and undiagnosed.  It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure players are healthy and to provide any necessary medical documentation to the coaching staff.  It is our duty to instruct the players in safe practices and communicate any concerns we may see to parents.  However, players are notorious for not telling coaches about medical concerns so parents need to be vigilant in this area. 

Communication will be through email and social media for football events.  We are not going to use Band as it was confusing for parents and players.  All competitions can be found on R School. This app can be downloaded to your phone or accessed through the district website.  You can set the app to send you a notification if any games or times have changed.  All FCPS activities are included in R School so it is a valuable tool for all parents, not just football parents.  If you have a question about football here is the protocol you should follow:

1.     Ask your player.  Coaches tell the players multiple times about schedules etc.  Players need to learn to be responsible and communicate with their parents.  If you can’t get the information from your player then…..

2.     Check the district 56 facebook page or the live feed on the school website.  Scroll down to any football related posts.  The newest posts will always be the most accurate as times and information can change. For all competitions utilize R School as this is updated daily.  If you still can’t find the answer then…

3.     Reach out to the parents group.  Brenda Fields is acting as the high school parent liason this year.  She communicates directly with coach Bangert and is a senior mom so she has a lot of experience with football.  The parents have a facebook page you can follow.  If you still don’t have an answer then….

4.     Email coach Bangert.  If it is more pressing you can set an appointment to meet with him. 

If you did not attend the meeting on August 2nd players will be bringing home copies of the player/parent handbook.  I will need signed forms from all parents and players stating that you saw and are familiar with the information inside. 

Summer workouts and weights:  Our attendance this summer was not great.  I had multiple parents ask through the summer why these are necessary.  Here are the three main reasons:

•       Prevents injury and helps with heat acclimation when the season starts.  Stronger kids are less likely to get injured and they are used to the harsh conditions that are present in a football game.  It is impossible to get kids ready to play in just 3 weeks.  It takes much longer than this to play a full varsity football game. 

•       Psychology:  Those who get up at 6:30 in the morning to push a sled, roll in wet grass, run and lift weights are less likely to be ok with losing.  They have something invested.  Quitting becomes harder the more time and effort you put in.  These are long established lessons that many teams have utilized including the military.  The more you put into something the more important it becomes to you.  This is how true teams are formed.

•       Every successful program does it.  No winning program just has kids show up in August through October.  None.  In the old days August through October was the norm (before 1990).  We now compete with schools that put in a lot more work which means they are smarter, bigger and stronger.  To compete we have to keep up. 

We have about 1/3 of our players doing what is necessary to become a playoff team.  That is about 9 to 10 players in grades 9-12.  In 11 man football the best teams have 20 to 25 juniors and seniors who are putting in the work.  

Beating Auburn or winning half our games is not our goal.  Our goal is not just to get to the playoffs but to get there on a regular basis (our last appearance was 2014).  The ultimate goal is to break the 62 year drought and bring a state title to Falls City.  Coaches can’t do it without your support.  We understand it will take time to change the culture.  Our kids work hard and are extremely coachable but they are kids.  Without strong encouragement from home kids will not make their goals.  I will end this with an example of our seniors.  Jon Craig, Jaxyn Strauss and Kellen MacAfee all of have jobs (some out in the heat), some are multi sport athletes yet they all made over 75% of the workouts.  Jon only missed one day.  That is what it will take to win on a consistent basis no matter who the coach is, no matter how much talent is present.  We can do this but we just need to change our mindset.

How do we change the mindset and the culture to a winning culture?  It starts by clearly defining what parent support looks like for Falls City Tiger Football.  It includes

•       Encouraging players to be responsible and communicate with coaches.

•       Not making excuses for players not following through on commitments

•       Not allowing quitting something you started

•       Being supportive of other players and staff. 

•       NO mama/daddy bears.  HS kids are at the age they need to start self-advocating for themselves.

•       Making sure your kids are well fed, rested and hydrated. 

•       Taking care of medical needs in a timely fashion

•       Making sure players attend workouts and practices

Everything else is just fluff or distractions. 

The meeting concluded with our parents group.  They are willing to feed our players on game days.  They are asking for parent support with this.  As of now we do not have a middle school group but I think the High School group would be willing to give the Middle School parents pointers on what works.  The contacts for the football parent group are Brenda Fields, Jenny Strecker and Michelle Wilcox.   Please reach out if you are willing to help.  Speaking for the players and coaches we really appreciate all you do for us!

Finally, the best way to reach coach Bangert is through email.  I check it about every 15 minutes during the school year and your message won’t get lost unless it ends up in a spam file.  Try to avoid texting me or talking to me on the street.  The chances your message will get lost increase dramatically with those two modes of communication.

Thanks for all of your support of Falls City Tiger Football.  We are super excited to get started and get to work.