The stands at Ford Field were full of proud parents and families cheering on their favorite Warriors during . But few could rival the smile Monica Church beamed amid the raucous crowd as the clock ran out.
“This was just awesome! What a great way for him to end his senior year,” she said of her son, star running back , who set a school record with a 244-yard, three-touchdown performance.
“We’ve waited for this for a long time, and he’s been working so hard all year, so to get this done is awesome.”
Motivated to play his best game on the biggest stage, Church had a lot of support, she said. A handful of family members trekked from their native Ohio for Thanksgiving and the finals game.
Church’s performance was one for the ages, which says a lot given the Warriors’ long history of playoff success. The senior had 25 carries and 221 yards going into the fourth quarter.
His mom said the number of touches he had didn’t surprise her, but that even her high-motor son seemed to tire by the end of the game.
“You could see he got tired a little bit out there today, but they fought through it and played hard the entire game. That’s what you have to do,” she said.
No rest for the weary
While the seniors and their fans focused on celebrating the win, many in the stands with underclassmen in the program were already looking ahead to next season.
“What an outstanding game,” exclaimed Marty Bulger, whose son Marty Jr. is a wide receiver/defensive back. “To win like they did after coming back from 5-4 is special and shows that they just never quit.” “I’m so proud of them.”
"Being here, no doubt about it," said , whose son, Jordan, is a senior strong safety, when asked for his favorite moment of the season. "We lost about three games by four points and we made it here."
But, parents are still interested in keeping the team focused.
“We’re already talking about weight-training boot camp to get ready for next year, and it’s starts tomorrow,” Bulger told his son after he greeted them in the stands.”
Melvin Carter said that he hopes the exposure his son Chris, a sophomore defensive back, had to the successful season will carry over.
"Every loss we had was in a close game to a good team and these guys showed how really tough they are and I’m really impressed," he said. "There’s a lot to look forward to."
Carter said he was just as impressed by the program’s preparation for each and every game. Fellow sophomore parent backed Carter up in his opinion, adding that students learn a lot about discipline in the process.
"Just to see how much they put into each and every game, from the filmwork, to the drills and studying playbooks is really amazing. I really wasn’t expecting that at the high school level," Carter said.
"Brother Rice has a certain standard and our sons are learning what that standard is," said Armstrong, whose son, Jon Forster, is a backup quarterback who was called up from the junior varsity team midseason. "It takes a community to raise a child. There isn't a better community for our boys than the one they're in — the brotherhood of Brother Rice."
Visit Patch's Warriors in the Crowd topic page for more profiles of Brother Rice football parents and fans from today's game.
Tim Rath contributed to this report.