The last time that the Cozad Haymaker Football Team brought home the State Championship title was the fall of 1991. Twenty two years later, the Pitchfork Nation is rolling with a 12-0 record. Our Boys of Fall head to the University of Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium Tuesday to realize a community wide dream.
The 2013 Haymaker football players were young children when Matt and I moved to Cozad in 1997. I remember watching many of them play catch with a football on the sidelines while their dads played flag football on a local recreation team with my favorite farmer. Those years began the changing of the guard as one era of Haymaker players hung up their cleats and another learned a passion for the game.
The mantra for this year’s season is Win the Day. I have watched these young men systematically dominate the competition one game at a time. They play with heart—they play with pride—they play with brotherhood—they play to win. Their confidence is contagious and they have turned our community into a family of believers.
The heart of a small town is its youth. The community binds together to nurture its young people, and in return, the younger generation sparks optimism and creates sustainability for the town. It is a beautiful partnership and one of the things that I love most about rural America.
When the Haymakers take the field each day, they know that they represent not just themselves but also the rest of the 4000 people that live in Cozad. When they Win the Day, they bring not just victory but also hope for the future. Each performance on game day demonstrates that hard work and faith are the foundations of successful teams—and successful communities.
My heart swells with pride as I watch these young men discover that Excellence is not an act, but a habit.
I am reminded that with each touchdown and sack that are made on the field, the heart of our town becomes just a little bit bigger and the future of our community simultaneously becomes just a little bit brighter. Today I give a special shout out to the members of the 2013 Haymaker Football Team.
Thank you for all of your hard work and inspiration. Be true to yourselves and play with pride. I look forward to watching you Win the Day both Tuesday in Lincoln and each day for the rest of your lives!