LAFAYETTE — To say the least, it’s been a tumultuous three weeks for the Northside Vikings football team.
The announcement on Oct. 9 that head football coach Trev Faulk was resigning came the same day the Vikings were set to take on Teurlings Catholic later that evening. Interim head coach John Simmons said the emotions of that day and night were tough.
“I think the kids were still trying to rise up (against Teurlings),” Simmons said. “We still had a game plan that was set in stone. “The difference was, I was calling the game instead of coach Faulk. We work to make sure we were on the same page in the event that something like that does happen.”
Northside dropped that game to Teurlings, but Simmons said the team has used the emotions of a difficult situation and channeled it into a positive. Simmons said the following week of practice was superb and the outcome was a 30-0 win over Opelousas on Friday — the Vikings’ first win since Faulk resigned.
“It’s a very emotional time, especially right before the Teurlings game,” Simmons said. “It was so all of a sudden, but they have used that emotion for a positive. These kids realize that once you get a win, they love the way it feels. It also felt good for me to see them happy. We want to grow from the win and instead of just being happy, let’s get better.”
Senior quarterback Markaylon Boyd said the team needed that win to try to move forward from the drama of the last few weeks.
“We needed something to help us bounce back,” Boyd said. “At the beginning, it was hard. This is helping us come together as a team, though. These past few weeks, we’ve gotten closer, and we’re willing to put it all out on the field. We’ve become better men.”
Simmons said he has seen a difference in the way the team practices and the intensity that they do the little things.
“These kids have risen to the occasion,” Simmons said. “They come to practice, and they’re dong everything they’re supposed to do.”
Simmons, who has been at Northside for 16 years and serves as the school’s head wrestling coach, said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Faulk and what he means to the team. Still, he said this situation has tested his own character and made him follow through on some personal proclamations.
“As coaches, we say we would break our backs for these kids,” Simmons said. “This is almost like a crisis situation where they said, ‘This happened. Now it’s yours.’ I enjoy it, and I would do anything for these kids.
“It tests your character a little bit. When you say you would break your back for these kids, this is a time to really test it. It’s a learning experience. A win on Friday night is supposed to be fun, but you work Monday through Thursday. Friday is a reward. These kids understood that we needed to take positives from this situation, and they understood it was going to take a little more effort to get where we want to go.”