The loss was heartbreaking. Players wept openly after losing the game that ended an unbelievable season. For the last four weeks, the Canton community rallied around 2005 Eagles as they just kept winning. Last Friday, the entire community watched the agony of defeat.
Steve Plunk is the vice-president of the booster club.
He said, "It was somber. You know, we put our hearts, the fans, the true fans that have backed these boys and Coach Kinne all season, we put our hearts and our souls into them just like they did out on the football field."
Superintendent Jerome Stewart said, "Well, it hurts. There's a sense of loss. And at the same time we keep it in persepctive. It wasn't too terribly long ago that Coach Kinne was battling for his life."
After being shot in the field house last April, the town and team pulled together to support Coach Gary Joe Kinne. Despite serious medical issues, Kinne returned to the sideline, early in the year. His player, inspired by his toughness, dedicated the season to him. Then the town watched the Cinderella story unfold.
"It brought everybody together. It gave us a reason to cheer and be upbeat and be supportive of something really big that Coach Kinne was a part of as well."
Now, the season is over, and Canton didn't win the big game. Fans say this year was a learning experience. And they think next year, the Canton Eagles will be even better.
Lindsay Wilcox, reporting. firstname.lastname@example.org