Creating success from scratch

The+scoreboard+shows+the+final+score-WCHS+13%2C+MCSH+6%2C+on+Monday%2C+May+1.

Scott Hoskins

The scoreboard shows the final score-WCHS 13, MCSH 6, on Monday, May 1.

When the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System decided to field flag football teams for girls this year, no one knew what the outcomes would be. Williamson County started a program last year, which turned out to be quite successful. But would girls show up at high schools in Clarksville to play?

The answer turned out to be a resounding “yes.” All high schools fielded flag football teams, but West Creek had one of the largest rosters of any other school.

When tryouts were announced in February, Coaches Aaron King and Keisha Fedderman had no idea how many girls would show up. They were quickly surprised when more than 50 showed up. The ones who stuck it out found themselves in a tight-knit family.

Coach Keisha Fedderman praised the close-knit relationships that were formed that led to the team’s success this season.

“Making the team was the easy part, however seeing the friendships and bonds that these ladies created with one another is nothing short of priceless,” Coach Fedderman said. “The girls came together in a way that was so true and authentic. There were no forced or fake relationships.”

The group of coaches was intentional in seeking to create a family-type atmosphere. “We made sure to incorporate bonding actives such as matching hairstyles, team meals, picture challenges, and fun game day fun themes such as flag pulls from teachers to name a few,” Coach Fedderman said.

After losing close games to Clarksville High and Montgomery Central High, the Lady Coyotes didn’t quit.

“There were times this season when we could have quit,” Coach King said. “We lost to Clarksville High in the most agonizing way possible. After that night, our girls had every opportunity to keep their heads down. But they refused to let that loss define who they are. The leaders on our team stepped up and got everyone refocused on the goal from our creed: ‘Day by day we get better and better till we can’t be beat. Won’t be beat.'”

Coach Rachel LeJeune believed that a defining moment was the Northwest game. “They realized they’d get through tough things together if they had each other backs,” she said. The team’s time together both during and between practices where they used a group chat to joke around helped build a family-like atmosphere.

“I love those girls and would run through a brick wall together,” Coach LeJeune said.

For seniors on the squad, this championship meant something extra special.

“It was important to have one last moment of success,” Breanna Franklin said. “I couldn’t imagine us losing in the last game.”

“Winning this championship as a senior means so much, especially with it being our first season of flag football,” Ariy Denson said. “It feels like you’re leaving some kind of legacy behind, which is pretty dope to me.”

“[Winning] means a lot to me. I’m glad to be part of history. I wish I were a freshman again so I could do it again,” Jakayla Thomas said. “But only because of that.”

The team huddles up before running a play on Monday, May 1, against MCHS. (Scott Hoskins)

Brianna Adams said, “It was such a great opportunity. Being the first champion has set a marker for what’s to come.”

For Nira Washington, it’s proof that West Creek can win championships. “People underestimated us at the beginning of the year. They didn’t think we could win.”

Coach Fedderman credited the seniors.

“They took a chance with us and now are a part of West Creek High School and Clarksville Montgomery County history and for that I am extremely grateful that I was able to share a moment of their senior year with them,” Coach Fedderman said. “Each of them brings their own personal quirk or joke that will not be soon forgotten. You all may know Ariy, Brianna (Adams), Breanna (Franklin), Jakyala (Thomas) and Nira (Washington) but we were blessed with Swiper, Da na na na, Frank the Tank, Gotti and String Bean.

Seniors also credited the coaches.

“To the coaches, I would like to thank them all for believing in me and taking time to pour into me on and off the field,” Denson said. “They have become parents to me, to be honest, and have stuck it through with me even when I wasn’t doing so well. They have dealt with the team’s antics and goofy personalities, which I can appreciate, and were always there to cheer for us regardless of the circumstance. They expect the best from us and that is just what they got yesterday. The wins this season are as much theirs as it is ours.”

Adams said, “I feel like they lived up to our expectations. We had a few bumps along the way, but they taught us and made us better.”

Thomas was surprised that the coaches did not coach anything else. “They had so much determination toward winning,” she said.

This particular Lady Coyotes flag football squad will go down in the history of the school. Player Xia Singletary even challenged the boys’ football team: “Girls can do the same thing that boys can do, only better.”