“Here come your Southern Booooone EAGLES!” I was so excited to be in the press box last Friday night, playing the role of public address announcer for the district playoff game in which the Eagles defeated the Wright City Wildcats 49-0, that I may have ruptured a few fans’ eardrums during the course of the evening. Sorry about that, folks.

Travis Naughton

Travis Naughton

Be sure to bring your earplugs this week. You’ve been warned. Be sure to bring a friend or three, too. It would be awesome to see a record crowd on hand for Friday’s game against Christian High School. I know the boys down on the field appreciate your support, as do the cheerleaders and the members of the marching band.

Sophomore placekicker Parker Boyce appreciates the support he receives from the community for his efforts on the field, but he is also grateful for their generosity in supporting his efforts to kick childhood cancer.

Before the season started, Parker launched a campaign through the Kick-it organization to raise money to fight cancer in kids. Cancer kills more children than any other disease. Through donations and pledges, Parker has already raised over $1500 for pediatric cancer research—a feat even more impressive than his perfect 7 for 7 conversion rate in extra point attempts last week.

The truth is that despite the 55 points he has scored for his team with his right leg this season, Parker is the kind of young man who takes much more pride in his off-the-field, charitable efforts. And he is the kind of young man we as a community can be proud to call one of “our boys.”

As fun as it is to see our boys have success on the gridiron, it is much more satisfying to know that we are raising young men of good character. Senior Spencer Taggart is a talented quarterback, but I really appreciate him for his contributions as a mentor in a second grade classroom in which I occasionally substitute teach. The kids positively adore him and it is obvious that he cares for them, too. In fact, several members of the football team work with kids throughout the school district as part of the A+ program that offers scholarships in exchange for volunteer work.

Head football coach Trent Tracy and his staff deserve some credit for helping mold our boys into fine young men. Coaching football is not just about teaching boys how to win. Learning how to lose with dignity and class is perhaps just as important. In life, we often fail many more times than we succeed.

Most of the credit for the caliber of young people in our community belongs, of course, to the people raising them. The parents, step-parents, foster parents, and grandparents in Southern Boone County should be proud of the kids they are raising. To be sure, the success their sons have had on the football field is a source of pride for parents like Matt and Denise Boyce and Lance and Kim Taggart, but it is nothing compared to the pride they must feel for raising such kind and selfless young men.

I encourage you to show your support for our boys at this Friday’s football game. They really are an outstanding group of young people, and they have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today. But the outcome of the game is irrelevant, really. Our boys are already winners in my book.

I hope to see you Friday night. (Just don’t forget your earplugs!)