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The Ave Herald

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Coach Scanlon: No Shortage of Virtue or Effort in Shamrocks Loss in State Championship

The Donahue Academy Shamrocks were defeated 68-20 by unbeaten Clearwater Academy Saturday night in the championship game of the Florida Christian Association of Private and Parochial Schools but the team's head coach, Rich Scanlon, saw a team of winners on the field.

"Iplay1-250 have to give credit where credit is due," Coach Scanlon said. "Clearwater is an excellent football team with tremendous talent. Quite simply, they were the better team." But "the loss doesn't take away from the season we had because our players tried to reach excellence, never gave up and practiced perseverance, sportsmanship and remained united in solidarity amidst adversity," he said

"Having teams like this is why I coach."

The Ave Maria team had only one loss in the regular season and that loss, too, was to Clearwater.

The Ave Herald asked Coach Scanlon, who had just made his second trip to the state finals in three years, to reflect on his team's season and he offered the following observations:

"I am very proud of the 2015 Donahue Football team. Our captains and seniors were strong leaders, some of the strongest and most effective leaders I have come across in 23 years of coaching. In a way, this game summed up this team. Faced with a 32-point deficit at halftime most teams would fold and just go through the motions in the second half. But, not this team. One sign of strong character in a person and in a team is how well you handle adversity. Often today I see people quit in the face of adversity. They simply give up. But, this 2015 Donahue Shamrocks football team is a team that perseveres and fights through adversity. And, I witnessed that Saturday night.

"As I analyze the culture of football and sports today it becomes more and more apparent that we are living in a culture that embraces the win-at-all-cost mentality. Our program embraces the virtues practiced in football. Prior to the game I told our players that football did not need to end today for our seniors. Football can be a way of life if understood correctly  The virtues practiced every day this season -- hard work, effort, sacrifice, self-discipline and teamwork -- should not stop at the conclusion of [the] game. If you practice it every day for the rest of your life and try to reach excellence in all things then we as coaches have accomplished our goal. We have won the most important championship in life and that championship doesn't include medals, trophys or material gifts. And, as the seconds ran off the clock and the game came to a conclusion, I felt that we had accomplished what we set out to do this year. We fell short of winning a state championship, but, we did not fall short of reaching excellence through the virtues mentioned."

(photo of Coach Scanlon by Robb Klucik)


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