Devon Casey and his teammates love wearing their team jerseys whenever they volunteer at a local elementary school.
They want people to know that they have pride in the Hudson's Bay Eagles.
"It's not easy playing for an 0-9 team," Casey said.
It is easier, though, when a senior leader can see that things are improving, when that person understands there is more to high school football than the scoreboard.
Last spring, Casey was one of the Eagles who tutored elementary school children, representing Bay academics and football.
"We always wore our jerseys," Casey said. "We spread the pride around. We want people to come here and build a program. We are trying to start from the bottom and build the program up."
Bay coach Sylvester Green said his program stands for hard work, dedication, and championships.
"Not saying we're going to win a championship (on the field). Our championship is based on what we do in the community," Green said. "We want this to be Vancouver's team."
The commitment to the team and his 3.5 grade point average have made Casey a natural leader for this year's squad.
"When you put that all together, he's what our football program is all about," Green said.
It is up to Casey, a running back and linebacker, to pave the way for the next group of Eagles, to show that things are heading in the right direction.
This is the first time in Casey's four seasons with the program that the head coach has returned for another year. That's a bonus.
"He helps a lot of kids by talking to them. He's very good with all the kids," Casey said of his coach, noting that the vibe in practice is positive.
"It's turned around as far as motivation," Casey said. "Now, players want to compete with each other instead of putting down everybody."
That makes it more fun to go to practice.
"I'd rather have a group around me who's dedicated to wanting to be here," he said.
Casey, who wants to play college football, said he has the mind-set of a Division I athlete who cannot slack off, even for a day. He said his job is to "come out every day and give my all, to become a champion."
Again, a league title is not the definition of champion for these Eagles. Maybe some year, but not yet.
"If that means we win three or four games, I'd feel we'd accomplished something," Casey said.
The elementary school students do not care about a team's record. They just appreciate older athletes paying attention to them.
"A lot of smiles," Casey said. "They seem to be happy we were there and helping them out. The kids are great. They're full of energy.
"And you get a sense of accomplishment after you help someone out."
With his grades, with his work ethic, and his pride in his school, Devon Casey is helping the Eagles become a better football program.
One practice, one tutoring session at a time.
Hudson's Bay Eagles
Coach: Sylvester Green.
2012 record: 0-9, 0-5 3A GSHL.
Key players: Jeremy Matheny, so., qb; Tristan Maxwell, so., wr/db; Devon Casey, sr., rb/lb; Anthony Sanchez, jr., wr/db; DeWayne Whitley, sr., wr/db; Stone Sabourin, so., lb/qb; Seth White, sr., wr/db; Nathan Newo, fr., rb/dl; Thommy Le, jr., ol/dl; Daegan Carter, sr., wr; Caleb Grahnert, jr., rb/lb; Erik Ivonov, sr., te/lb; Ayrrius Presley, sr., wr/db; Jovanny Quintero, sr., ol/dl; Jerrod Bacon, fr., ol/dl.
Season outlook: The Eagles are not promising a playoff berth. This program has won one game the past two seasons, so the players and coaches understand what they are up against. Yet, with all the baggage, there is optimism. This team is organized. This team is committed. The coach said this is the team that should start the turnaround for Hudson's Bay football.
Sept. 6 at Washougal
Sept. 13 Mark Morris
Sept. 20 at Hockinson
Sept. 27 Ridgefield
Oct. 4 at Kelso*
Oct. 11 Prairie*
Oct. 18 Mountain View*
Oct. 25 at Columbia River*
Nov. 1 at Fort Vancouver*
- -- 3A GSHL game
Home games played at Kiggins Bowl
For more on high school football, go to The Columbian's high schools sports blog at:
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