MAUMEE, Ohio — It’s no secret that the Maumee Football team has struggled in recent years.
They’ve lost 21 straight games, but for the Panthers senior Caleb Boerst, his passion for the sport has never wavered, and football helped him through the toughest moments of his life.
You couldn’t fault the seniors on the Panther football team if they were getting frustrated with the losing. We live in a time where results are dissected and social media can make you feel the pain of mounting losses worse than ever.
But for this group, there is much more to Friday nights than just wins and losses.
"Our culture is one of, we're being a great teammate, we're giving great effort, we have great attitudes, we make improvements, and we love caring and serving one another," said Maumee head coach Cam Coutcher. "I was telling someone the other day, I think we might have a better culture and our kids might be more excited to show up on a Monday than some 7-0 teams."
"That's the weird thing. When a team's doing bad, everyone expects us to be arguing with each other, fighting, but honestly, this is the closest team I've been with for the three years that I've been playing. I love football. We all love it so it's not hard. We're blessed just to be out here playing Friday night football with our fans and everything so it's just great."
Football can teach so many life lessons and it was football that kept life normal for Boerst during the summer when he got the worst news you could imagine.
He woke up and headed to the pool with his family. His dad was supposed to join them, but he never made it.
"He was sleeping in the morning. That's what I thought," said Boerst. "So I left to go to my brother's house to swim and stuff, have fun. We were expecting him to come and he never came and we were kind of confused. Then we get that call and it was just heartbreaking."
His dad, Bruce, never woke up. He passed away in his sleep. He was just 57 years old.
"No one expected it. He seemed fine. It's almost like one minute he's fine, the next minute he's gone," said Boerst. "I was more shocked than anything. The emotions kind of hit me days after."
Caleb’s commitment to football never changed. He took a little time away but came back to be around his teammates. It’s where he’s the most comfortable.
"Kind of getting chills just thinking about it. He's one of the best kids I've been around," said Coutcher. "Just his attitude, he's kind, one of the nicest kids I think we've been around in 21 years of being a head coach or just around high school sports. He's a great teammate, hard worker, and cares about everybody."
"It was the thing that kept everything normal," said Boerst. "Just playing football, working out, conditioning, that was the thing that kept consistent even through everything and they were always there for me. I'm just glad to have the teammates that I have."
Football was a shared passion that he had with his dad. It started from a young age and those memories will never fade.
"He got me in, he made me start playing in second grade and I loved it ever since," said Boerst. "I watched all the Ohio State games at his house, all the Browns games even when they were bad. We'd always watch it together. He was really why I got into football."