Who are you going to see in Honolulu this time of year? Of course, former UA football coach Dick Tomey. He visited with the 98 Boys Red team before Tuesday’s game in Honolulu. Super cool! But that’s Tomey.
Here’s a story about how the team got to Hawaii.
Coach Jeff Rogers thought the building process would take a while. Heck with the building process. The 98 Boys Red team are champions.
“Dean Nourse (assistant coach) and I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” said coach Jeff Rogers. “They played a flawless first half, jumping out to a 4-0 lead and were extremely focused and disciplined the entire match. We were so motivated and driven to succeed, and that is always the foundation of any championship-caliber team. Their performance set the tone for the day and I sincerely believe it gave confidence to our other teams ... everyone felt like this was TSA’s day after the way we played."
In reality, the 98 Boys Red team together came quicker than he thought. “Usually it takes a year to two years before you see the true integration,” Rogers said, “but it was almost immediate-- they had a style and had a real chemistry.”
The Boys are a mix of the 98 Boys Red of old and the old TSA Oros. Former rivals turned friends and teammates. The question was how would the chemistry be? Well, it’s turned out very well and for Rogers, who took over the group from Dave Cosgrove this season, said “it’s been an absolute pleasure working with them.” They’ve taken to his coaching. "So much credit goes to Dave and Rogelio Hernandez (former head coach for the Oros), they instilled all the qualities that have made them successful. These kids are skillful and have a tremendous work ethic due to their time with Dave and Rogelio"
Rogers said he had no preconceived notions of how the team would do, but he saw promise in the group. Again, it was just how they would jell. And they did, winning the U15 State League and doing well all season. Rogers said any one of the eight teams could have won the league it’s that strong of an age group. "It’s probably the deepest age group in the State, and our record is even more impressive because of that---we didn’t have an easy game all year."
“The turning point was when we played CCV in the first state league game of the year,” said Rogers, who was expecting a loss. “But we won the game and that’s when the light bulb when on for us, this could be a special team.”
The 98s are 25-4-6 overall.