By Raelyn Schapeler

Willard High School Football welcomed the 1967 football team in celebration of 50 years of football during the last regular season home game Oct. 6 at Tiger Stadium.

Members of the 1967 football team, including former head coach Larry Hall, attended the game and received a ceremony to thank them for bringing football to Willard.

Athletic Director Kathy Shoup said football is such an important sport because it’s been around for a long time and builds good character in young men.

“The game spearheaded athletics,” Shoup said. “Football kicked off sports for all high schools in general.”

Current head coach Brock Roweton said that Willard football is a great opportunity for kids to compete and have fun with their friends.

“I enjoy playing football because of the competitive nature,” senior Quintin Batson said. “I love coming out every Friday and seeing their best and our best.”

Senior Dakota Mainprize said every time the team breaks it down in a huddle, they break down on family.

He said that having a good bond with his teammates is what makes the team special.

“It’s something to get out and be active,” Mainprize said. “It’s great to get out there in front of a crowd and play.”

1967 team member Gary Keen said that while he doesn’t watch a lot of football, he really enjoyed watching a new generation play the game.

“We started it all,” Keen said. “It’s great to see Coach. I haven’t seen the boys in years.”

Roweton said the youth program he’s overseen is coming into high school level ball.

“We have many classes that are stacked on top of each other that are going to be good in the future,” Roweton said. “We’re excited to see how elite we can become.”