Brodhead/Juda fans disappointed by outcome but thrilled for the season
Still, you couldn't find one fan that didn't say the season was a delight because of the Brodhead/Juda football team's consistent improvement from the beginning to the end of the season.
"Each week they've just gotten better and better," said Brodhead High School math teacher Steve Zittlow, who has ridden fan buses as a chaperone for the last three weekends. "They got us all the way here."
The Cardinals ended the season with a tough 41-21 loss to the Kewaunee Storm in the WIAA Division 4 championship in Madison.
It was an opportunity few expected early in the season, said Tami Jacobson, mother of senior offensive lineman Nick Jacobson.
"They said it was going to be a rebuilding year," Jacobson said. "Now look where we are."
It was the team members' dedication to playing as a unit rather than individuals that got the Cardinals to the state championship, said Terri Chapman from her seat behind the marching band.
In the four years she's been a team parent, Chapman never has seen the team click so well.
"They have so many kids who can just do everything," said Chapman, whose son, Blair Chapman is a senior running back.
Seconds later, seconds later, Chapman let out a yell when junior tight end Joey Jordan proved her right and scored Brodhead/Juda's first touchdown of the night.
"This is the first time he's done anything like that," Chapman shouted. "This is outstanding."
At that touchdown and others, Jason Riesterer had the unique job of separating more than 50 black-clad teens from a screaming and bouncing horde of red-and-white-clad teens.
Riesterer, Brodhead High School's marching band director, made the job look easy. And not only did the Cardinal band get to play in the stands, they got to march with the color guard at halftime.
Riesterer isn't new to Camp Randall; he also is a field director with the UW-Madison Marching Band staff, and his first year working at Brodhead High school was in 2003 when the football team had its first run at the state title.
He wasn't surprised when band members pointed out their new uniforms as a highlight of the season. Well, new in 2009. The band raised $43,000 to replace their previously 33-year-old uniforms, Riesterer said.
The students aren't the only ones who are proud, Riesterer said.
"The community's pretty proud of them too," he said. "When we need something, everyone says, 'We'll chip in.' "
Not so well dressed were six Brodhead High School juniors and senior who stood out in crimson body paint in the middle of the student section. Together, they spelled "CARDS" in black letters on their chests. Dubbed the "superfans," the boys have led the student section all season, said senior Noah Trueblood, otherwise known as the letter "A."
Trueblood was shivering by halftime.
"It's OK. I can't feel anything," Trueblood said. "You get used to it. We've been shirtless all season."
Junior Matt Peterson used halftime to warm up a little. In addition to his fox fur hat, Peterson had a Winnie the Pooh fleece blanket wrapped around his red-painted shoulders.
Chapman and Jacobson agreed that the season was all the sweeter because last fall during the Brodhead School District's 2010 budget planning season, all extra-curricular activities, including sports, were on the list of potential cuts as the district worked to balance its budget.
Parents of football players this year worked extra hard to find ways to pay for the season other than asking the district for cash, Chapman said.
"We were just scared to death when we went through all that," Chapman said. "So we had to prove how important this is. The parents just kept chipping in."
Jacobson said the students have really showcased their talents in the last few weeks. Last weekend, it was the musical "Guys and Dolls" as well as the semi-finals against Middleton, Jacobson said.
"I think this is huge for our community," Jacobson said. "What would we be doing this weekend if we weren't here?"
Brodhead School District Superintendent Chuck Deery agreed.
"The whole town's here," Deery said. "You can see that from the size of the crowd." More than 1,300 people bought tickets to the game from the Brodhead School District, Deery said.
Deery also attributed the success of the season to the team-player attitude of the team as well as the coaching staff.
"The coaches put in a long, hard season," Deery said. "We have a lot of coaches who have played together a long time. They put these kids in a position to win."
Really, it was a win for the whole community," Jacobson said.
"This is big for everybody," she said. "It touches more than the kids."