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Last Friday, the Muskies won their final game of the season, giving them a winning record (5-4) for the first time in four years. Overall, Coach Jake Muller felt please with the game. “Right away, we didn’t get off to a very good start. We handed [the Davenport North Wildcats] seven points, we felt like. From that point on, we did a pretty good job. Our defense pretty much ste the tone for the game. Offensively, we started to do some good things midway through the second quarter.” Muller elaborated on these thoughts, explaining what he thought both the offense and defense did well. “Defensively, we caused a number of turnovers. I think we intercepted three of their passes. I think we may have even gotten a fumble recovery too. Defensively, I think we played outstandingly, and offensively, we did enough to get by. . . . Not ideal, but it says a lot about the character of our team to have some stuff go against us and still bounce back.”
Muller found the Muskies’s accomplishments particularly impressive in light of the stakes their opponent played for. “Davenport North [had] a lot to play for. They were 5-3 going in to the game. If they [won], they would [have been] in the playoffs, and . . . they would have had their best record in twenty-five years.
Always pleased with a win, and with a winning season, Muller especially appreciated earning them for the seniors on the team. “Our seniors won one game as freshmen, one game as sophomores, and two games as juniors. To leave with five wins and a winning record, in perspective for those guys it’s a big deal. It’s not really where program-wise we want to set the bar, but if you keep in perspective where things were when they started and where they are where they’re leaving you feel pretty good.”
Muller also shared his excitement for the success of some of the sophomore players on the team, who will return next season. “Eli Gaye, he finished the season number three in the state in receiving yardage and tied for second in receptions in 4A across the state. Tim Nimely . . . he was fourth in the state in rushing yards. For those guys to be among the state’s best already in 4A as sophomores is a good place to go into next year. . . . we are excited about those guys and plenty of others who are coming back.”
With football season over, Muller shared the many ways players can stay active. “We encourage our plays to do swimming, basketball, and wrestling in the winter. All of our kids should be lifting weights with our strength program year round . . . . . In another three or four weeks, we’ll get the kids who are underclassmen who are not going to be out for winter sports. . . . [to] start working with them after school doing speed and agility conditioning three days a week.” As students move into postseason workouts, Muller says everyone eagerly anticipates getting to use the new Chuck Van Hecke center. “That’ll be a big deal for this group to have that facility. They’re looking forward to it, especially for the younger kids who are going to have it for multiple years to train and prepare in.”
With the new athletic center on his mind, Muller reflected on its dedication ceremony. “That was a really nice [ceremony] for Chuck. It was great to see a lot of members of the community come out and also some people who have left the community come back just to honor Chuck. That was really nice to see.”
To sum up the season, and this year’s final edition of Coach’s Corner, Muller expressed his gratitude to all the fans who supported the team this season. “There’s no question that there’s a lot of Muskies fans out there, and they care a lot about our team and our program, and we really appreciate all the support we’ve gotten.”

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