Despite tough season, seniors wouldn’t let team give up
Going into the 2016 football season, the Yukon Millers had a veteran offensive line with size and athleticism they were hoping would lead them to a successful year on the gridiron.
However, after a series of injuries to three of the starters, the Miller offensive line had to reshuffle and bring in younger players with little to none experience at the varsity level.
One of those players who went down with a season-ending injury midway through the year, was senior right tackle and vocal leader Madison Wrather. Wrather has still maintained his vocal leadership role, but doing it from the sidelines and not on the field with his teammates sings a different tune.
Senior offensive lineman Denton Sanchez started on the same side of the line as Wrather, but he was at the guard position. Sanchez also was a leader going into 2016 but the 6-foot-4 290-pound masher did his leading through action more so than vocally.
After Wrather went down, the offensive line needed a leader to step up in his place and that man was Sanchez.
“It wasn’t natural for me,” Sanchez said. “I have always been someone who likes to lead by example and not with words, but my team needed me to be both.”
There’s no doubt with mountain of a man frame, Sanchez commands respect from anyone who comes into his path, but being a vocal leader wasn’t something he was used to but he said he has learned a lot about himself since he was called to step into the role.
One thing Sanchez and the other senior Miller football players wanted to make sure did not happen throughout the season, was people giving up and not working hard despite the rough record Yukon had.
“That was never an option,” Sanchez said. “We have pride in our team, school and community and we weren’t going to let anyone down by cashing it in. We don’t quit, ever.”
The Millers closed out the 2016 season on Friday night at Westmoore and with an 0-9 record going into their final game, the year was coming to an end regardless of the outcome with the Jaguars.
It would have been easy for the Yukon players to pack it in and coast through the few remaining games on their schedule, but the seniors weren’t going to let the attitude of the team change.
On a football team, the attitude begins with the offensive line. Sanchez kept pushing his guys and making them get better and that’s exactly what they have done.
“I just kept working with the young guys and teaching them and making sure they were ready to play,” Sanchez said. “They have really played well. You can definitely see the improvement we made as a line throughout the season. Everyone worked really hard.”
The Yukon offensive line has gone from allowing quarterback sacks and struggling in the run blocking department to protecting their quarterbacks and giving their running backs lanes to run through as the season has gone along, despite the injuries they have sustained.
“As an offensive line, you take pride in watching the skill players make plays because you know you have done your job in making that possible,” Sanchez said. “Whether it’s a touchdown pass or a long run, we take pride in our offensive having success.”
The Millers may have not had the season they had hoped for, but one thing is true about these players, they never gave up and that is in large part to the senior class and Denton Sanchez.