At the beginning of the 2015 fall athletics season, no one knew quite what to expect from the new SMB Wolfpack football cooperative. This was particularly true for the Spartan players, who persevered throughout a difficult 2014 season and were unsure what the new co-op would bring.
Senior Brendan McGlincey was particularly unsure about the team’s chemistry since players were coming from multiple schools. “At first it seemed like the biggest challenge would be connecting with the other guys to make a uniform team with solid chemistry,” says McGlincey. Fortunately, those fears turned out to be unfounded: “It was honestly never an issue,” says McGlincey, who says that the team “seemed as though we had been playing together for our whole lives.” McGlincey’s classmate and teammate Michael O’Shea ‘16 agrees. “We’ve become really close with all the kids from the other schools—kids we had been playing against the past couple of years,” O’Shea says.
That chemistry was obvious on the field throughout the season. The Wolfpack’s 60-man roster played their way to a regular season record of 8-0, and team wasn't scraping by either: the Wolfpack had several crushing victories, including big wins over IMAC rivals Breck (39-6) and Providence Academy (38-20), and Twin Cities neighbors Como Park (44-7), Minneapolis South (42-6), and St. Paul Johnson (35-0). Fans responded, and even the games played away and at “home” field Blake were packed with SPA students, parents, and community members.
The team's dominant regular season earned the Wolfpack the #1 seed in the postseason and a bye in the first round of the Section playoffs. As the team geared up to play the #4 seeded Mahtomedi, the boys knew they would need to prove their worth in 5A football, a step up from the teams they had played during the regular season. Unfortunately, however, the Wolfpack could not quite maintain their perfect record. The undefeated team fell to Mahtomedi in a heartbreaking, last-second field goal that claimed the 10-7 victory for the Zephyrs.
Despite the post-season loss, football coach and SPA physical education teacher Bill Ross has nothing but positive things to say about the season and the team. “This 2015 season was a great experience for all of us,” Ross says. “It was a great example of players and coaches working together to build great chemistry from the ground up, and then playing with and for one another all through the season.”
Both McGlincey and O’Shea agree that the Wolfpack’s successful inaugural season should be the foundation for years to come. “Moving forward, it's important for people to remain optimistic about the program,” says McGlincey, who is “confident that [the team] will continue to keep up the winning mentality.”