Spadoni siblings watch from the sidelines
By Greg Seubert
She’s only in the fourth grade, but Scout Spadoni is already looking forward to high school.
So is her brother, Jack, a fifth-grader.
If they have their way, their names will be on an Amherst High School football roster.
Both of them already have a taste of a successful football program, as they were on the Amherst sidelines for the Falcons’ 42-0 win Nov. 19 over Spencer/Catholic Columbus in the WIAA Division 5 state championship game at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.
Their dad, Doug, is the team’s defensive coordinator.
“I like to chat with the players when they make a good play,” Jack said. “I actually feel a bond with these guys.”
Does he have a favorite player?
“Not really,” he said. “I like them all.”
“It’s great because I get to be with my dad,” Scout said. “It kind of feels like I’m coaching with him.”
The kids are no strangers to the game of football, according to Doug, a former teacher and assistant coach at Waupaca High School.
“They’re always talking about football,” he said. “We watch football.”
The kids also suited up this fall for Amherst’s Mid-State Youth Football & Cheerleading Conference teams.
“I like that you get to be physical and hit,” said Scout, who lined up as a defensive end.
“She can do whatever she wants,” Doug said. “They love the game and love being around it. (Jack) wants to lift weights not any time soon, but he knows what it takes.”
“I’m learning the jet sweep, the option and different plays,” Jack said. “Defense, that’s what’s important about football. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.”
Not only do Scout and Jack get to watch the game from the field, they also help out when needed. So does their grandfather and Doug’s father-in-law, Ray Hurt, a volunteer coach.
“I’ve had a lot of fun being the ball boy and doing the Worm at the end of games,” Jack said.
“I usually help with the cleat grinders or the water bottles,” Scout said.
The win over the Rockets was the Falcons’ second state championship in four seasons and their second straight trip to the finals. Lancaster handed Amherst a 41-21 game last year. Jack was on the field with Doug for that game, but Scout watched from the stands with her mother, Amy.
Scout was excited to be on the field this year.
“It’s great because the Badgers play here and I’m standing on the field that they play on,” she said.
“There’s nothing like it,” Doug said. “I always dreamed since they were babies that it would be like this. I might have even dreamed that at some point we’d win a state title with my kids on the sidelines. I knew I always wanted them on the sidelines with me. It means more than me than I can describe.”
The Falcons now have two state titles and a state final appearance in the last four seasons.
“It was an awful feeling last year,” Doug said. “We got run over, absolutely run over. Just when you think you know a few things, all of a sudden you get smashed.
“I think it was such a surprise to us,” he said about beating Lancaster 19-7 in the 2012 championship game. “It was our third year (of coaching) and all of a sudden, we were really good and we won state. We’re not used to it, you never get used to it. It’s absorbing it more. It’s a more satisfying feeling.”
The Falcons finished the season with a 14-0 record, the second undefeated football season in school history.
“They’re a talented group,” Doug said. “This is the strongest team we’ve had. They lifted (weights) so hard and were so focused. (Coach Mark) Lusic and I talked about this. We didn’t have to yell at them all the time about effort. They just came to work. They were focused and never lost sight of the big picture. They were an easy group to coach.
“I figured we’d be good,” he added. “I let Mark do the big picture stuff. I think more on terms of a weekly basis and how to make the defense better. I don’t ever allow myself to think, ‘We’re going to go to state.’”
“Getting here took a lot of work,” Jack said. “We did it. I’m as proud as my dad.”