Williamstown Yellowjackets coach Terry Smith says coaching is as much about the journey as the destination. His teams had experienced the journey 4 times in the last 5 years. Saturday they arrived at their championship destination at Wheeling Island Stadum.
Winning is nothing new to the Yellowjackets. They own the state record for the home field winning streak. Winning it all, well that's been another story. In 2003 they lost a heart breaker in a muddy icy mess that forced Wheeling officials to install a new artificial surface at the stadium.
Then they faced the Wheeling Central juggernaut. The Maroon Knights turned away the Jackets 3 years in a row in the title game. Terry Smith offered no excuses, his team was beaten by a better team.
Those losses just forced the Yellowjackets to work harder in the weight room during the off season. Then when August rolled around, it was time to go back to work. Every practice and every game was pointed to get this team back to Wheeling. They Jackets played the toughest schedule in the state, and posted a 9-1 record. That only loss came to a Grafton team that went on to win the Class AA State championship.
Wins over Parkersburg Catholic and Man set up another sequel with Wheeling Central. This time, though, on Williamstown's turf. The Maroon Knights were worthy champions, but Williamstown ended their champion reign with a 14-13 victory in game that was one for the ages.
After finally beating an arch rival that had broken your heart the last years in a row, you think there might be a let down against Madonna in the Championship game. No way. Terry Smith wouldn't let it happen, his seniors wouldn't let it happen.
They had come too far, paid too high a price to falter with the finish line in sight.
The journey has ended. The Championship has been won. Its time for celebration and congratulation.
But before too long coach Smith and his Yellowjackets will begin working toward taking those first steps on the road back to Wheeling.