High expectations were all around the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point football team coming into the year, but after a number of heartbreaking losses, a 5-5 record is what the team finished with.
It seemed as if every game the Pointers played came down to the final quarter, and some went their way while others did not. This was most evident by a three-game losing streak in the middle of the season to three ranked teams, despite the Pointers leading each game going into the fourth quarter.
“I think the overall feeling throughout this team was somewhat disappointed, you know. We had a goal to win the WIAC championship and give ourselves a chance at a playoff berth,” said senior defensive back Matt Gaffney.
Losing all of these close games was especially difficult for the Pointers knowing that they were in each of those games for a reason, and that reason was because they were talented enough to compete with the best.
“Losing those games like we did made this especially tough because we know that there isn’t a difference in talent between us as the Pointers and the rest of the WIAC. As everybody knows, a football game comes down to a few plays most of the time, and we simply didn’t make the plays to decide the outcome of the game,” Gaffney said.
The Pointers finished out the season Saturday with a 44-0 win over UW-River Falls on Senior Day, clinching their third consecutive season of a .500 record or better.
“A shutout win to close out the season here at Point was big and gives this program continued momentum into the offseason and eventually entering next year,” Gaffney said.
After a series of losing seasons, many players said head coach Tom Journell instilled values that have stuck with them, especially those who played their final game in a Pointer uniform.
“It was awesome to see improvement in every year of my four years here. Coach J has a lot of different values not only about football but life that he uses that come into play all the time, and I hope that we as seniors left a great impression on those underclassmen so they can continue what we have going,” said senior Michael Longmeyer.
For the remaining players and coaches, the season never really ends, as Coach Journell’s “Stackin’ W’s” mentality carries into every aspect of his players’ lives.
“Stackin’ W’s applies to everything. Win every chance you get. It can be a rep in the weight room, a play on the field or a question on an exam, and we as a program have always believed into buying into this process,” Gaffney said.
As the fall season concludes, the reality of snow and no more football is sinking in for the Pointers.
“The only thing we can do now is just be a model student here on campus and hopefully set an example to the underclassmen in the best way possible,” Longmeyer said.