'Oh captain, my captain'

Moffat County football searches for team leaders in new ways

When asked whether he would rather be drilled by questions while in a suit and tie or blitzed by fullbacks while in a football uniform, Moffat County High School junior Shea Carr didn't hesitate.

"Mentally, it's a lot easier to be on the field," he said. "They were all looking right at you and it was pretty nerve racking."

"They" are members of the coaching staff of the MCHS football team and "it" was an interview that was part of the new captain selection process for next year's squad.

"I believe many coaches underestimate the role captains play on their team," said head coach Kip Hafey. "We wanted to make it more than simply getting votes from their teammates. Now they have to wear suits and ties to interview and turn in a typed resume."

The first deadline for anyone interested in being a captain on next year's team was to turn in a resume. On the resume, the captain-hopefuls had to list their proven leadership ability, off-season commitment to strength and conditioning, academic, athletic and leadership skills.

There were 12 resumes turned in under the deadline and those candidates were interviewed.

Hafey said the questions weren't easy and they were designed to make the student athletes think about their responsibilities. The interviews took 15 to 30 minutes with questions such as, "What would you do if you witnessed a teammate drinking at a party in the off-season? Would it be different if it happened at a party in the season?" and, "What weaknesses would you have as captain and how would you work on improving them?"

Junior Aaron Sanchez said the questions were a test for the interview and for the future as well.

"You had to answer honestly," he said, "because you know they'll hold you to it next year."

After the interviews, the coaches chose a leadership council of nine players. The council will meet every two weeks during the season in order to "talk about ideas for creating a successful team and being a successful leader in life," according to Hafey.

The leadership council establishes a line of command for the team. Hafey said that everyone on the team would have someone to which to turn. The players named to captain were Carr and Sanchez. The lieutenant captains are Nick Goodenow, Kelvin Grinolds, Blaine Kawcak, Nick Lee, Jason Mosher, Cody Palmer and George Raftopoulos.

The council's first order of business was a meeting Thursday with eighth graders to talk about the football program. Afterward, Sanchez and Carr shared what they thought about being selected captains.

"If the team gets in trouble, we get in trouble," Carr said. "So it is up to us to keep them in line."

Sanchez said he didn't expect resentment from other players because "it gives players more security to talk to somebody your own age with a problem.

"There won't be any power trips because we still have to OK everything with our lieutenant captains."

The increased responsibilities for the players is still a work in progress but Hafey said he believes the initial stages have served their purpose.

"We wanted to give the kids a real-life experience that would help them in the future," he said.

"I think the ones we chose will take a more active role and solve some of the problems that arise on their own."

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