STILWELL, Kan. -- It's a new season for the Blue Valley Tiger football team. A new season means new goals.
"I'm excited to get back to the State Championship game. We have a lot of traditions here so just to keep it going would be awesome," Owen Olsen, senior linebacker, said.
Olsen and teammate Blake Brown, a senior wide receiver, said the team is playing for more than wins this season.
"Coach D just brought a special light wherever he went. Weight room, field, just the tradition he carried. Everybody looked up to him. He was a great guy and a great coach," Olsen said.
"He was a father figure. Everyone looked up to him no matter how much they knew him or not. He almost seemed like he was invincible to some of us. We just loved him so much," Brown said.
Former head coach Eric Driskell suddenly died in February of a ruptured brain aneurism. He was only 43 years old. Coach Driskell took the head coaching position in 2010 where he led the Tiger to two state championships. But it's what he did for his players off of the field that new head coach Allen Terrell said he treasures the most.
"He lived his word. He was all of those things. He was how you want your son to be as a husband, as a father, as a teacher, as a coach. He lived his word every day and we got to see it and hoped to be like him and worked to be like he was," Coach Terrell said.
It's because of that love and leadership that players said they are pushing themselves to ensure their performance on the field reflects the inspiration they are getting from above it.
"It’ll be special because I know that’s what he want, he’d want us to put in as much work as we can, do the best we can on and off the field and in the classroom," Olsen said.
"I think it means a whole lot because if we can play for him that’s exactly what he’d want. Just for us to go out, he wasn’t a guy that would talk about wins or losses so he just wanted us to be the best you you could be," Brown said.